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  • “Zum Schutz des deutschen Blutes . . .”: “Rassenschandegesetze” im National sozialismus
  • Helmut Berding
“Zum Schutz des deutschen Blutes...”: “Rassenschandegesetze” im National sozialismus, by Michael Ley. Bodenheim bei Mainz: Philo Verlag, 1997. 348 pp. 28 DM.

After their seizure of power the National Socialists attempted to distance the Jews as quickly as possible from the economic, political, and cultural life in Germany. The first measures were instituted in early 1933 and expanded quickly. With the Nuremberg racial laws of September 15, 1935 Nazi Jewish policy reached a new level. The number of lawyers who participated in the anti-Jewish legislation and jurisdiction increased. Their cooperation with the “race-denigrating laws” stands at the center of this study by Michael Ley. The political-religious background of the Nuremberg Laws is first addressed; next the juridical and social environment of the racial-political legislation; and, finally the study turns to the question of how the administration of justice in the post-war period came to grips with its own past.

The first part of the study sheds light on the “blood- and race-denigrating processes” in the context of National Socialist sacred theology (“Heilstheologie”). In clarifying the thesis the author, in several cases, draws connections to canon law. The ensuing section on the spiritual straying of the National Socialist legal system emphasizes the central role of Hegelian legal philosophy.

Helmut Berding
Historical Institute
University of Gießen
translated by Dean Bell

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