Fritz Bauer
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German Jewish judge and prosecutor Fritz Bauer (1903–1968) played a key role in the arrest of Adolf Eichmann and the initiation of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. Author Ronen Steinke tells this remarkable story while sensitively exploring the many contributions Bauer made to the postwar German justice system. As it sheds light on Bauer's Jewish identity and the role it played in these trials and his later career, Steinke's deft narrative contributes to the larger story of Jewishness in postwar Germany. Examining latent antisemitism during this period as well as Jewish responses to renewed German cultural identity and politics, Steinke also explores Bauer's personal and family life and private struggles, including his participation in debates against the criminalization of homosexuality—a fact that only came to light after his death in 1968. This new biography reveals how one individual's determination, religion, and dedication to the rule of law formed an important foundation for German post war society.

Foreword by Andreas Vosskuhle


1. The German who Brought Eichmann to Justice: His Secret

2. The Secret Jewish Life of Post-War Germany's Most Controversial Jurist

3. The University Years (1921–1925): A Gifted Student

4. Judge in the Weimar Republic: Bauer's Attempts to Ward off Catastrophe

5. Concentration Camp and Exile (1933–1949)

6. Rehabilitating the Plotters of July 20, 1944

7. "Murderers Among Us": The Psychology of a Prosecutor

8. Bauer's Greatest Achievement: The Auschwitz Trial (1963–1965)

9. The Fight for Gay Rights: Bauer's Dilemma

10. Bauer's Path to Isolation

11. 1968: The Body in the Bathtub





Publié par
Date de parution 07 avril 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253046871
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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Matthew Handelman, Iris Idelson-Shein, Samuel Spinner, Joshua Teplitsky, and Kerry Wallach, editors
The Jewish Prosecutor Who Brought Eichmann and Auschwitz to Trial
Translated by Sin ad Crowe With a foreword by Andreas Vosskuhle
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
Published in German as Fritz Bauer oder Auschwitz vor Gericht
2013 by Piper Verlag GmbH, Munich and Berlin
2020 by Indiana University Press
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Steinke, Ronen, author. | Crowe, Sinead, [date], translator. | Vosskuhle, Andreas, writer of foreword.
Title: Fritz Bauer : the Jewish prosecutor who brought Eichmann and Auschwitz to trial / Ronen Steinke ; translated by Sinead Crowe ; with a foreword by Andreas Vosskuhle.
Other titles: Fritz Bauer, oder, Auschwitz vor Gericht. English
Description: Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press, 2019. | Series: GJC/German Jewish Cultures | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019020825 (print) | LCCN 2019021900 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253046895 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253046857 (hardback : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253046864 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Bauer, Fritz, 1903-1968. | Lawyers-Germany-Biography. | Public prosecutors-Germany-Biography. | Anti-Nazi movement-Germany-Biography. | Auschwitz Trial, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1963-1965. | Auschwitz (Concentration camp) | Eichmann, Adolf, 1906-1962.
Classification: LCC KK185.B38 (ebook) | LCC KK185.B38 S7415 2019 (print) | DDC 340.092 [B] -dc23
LC record available at
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Supported by the Axel Springer Stiftung
Foreword by Andreas Vosskuhle
1 The German Who Brought Eichmann to Justice: His Secret
2 The Secret Jewish Life of Postwar Germany s Most Controversial Jurist
3 The University Years (1921-1925): A Gifted Student
4 A Judge in the Weimar Republic: Bauer s Attempts to Avert Catastrophe
5 Concentration Camp and Exile (1933-1949)
6 Rehabilitating the Plotters of July 20, 1944
7 Murderers Among Us : The Psychology of a Prosecutor
8 Bauer s Greatest Achievement: The Auschwitz Trial (1963-1965)
9 The Fight for Gay Rights: Bauer s Dilemma
10 Bauer s Path to Isolation
11 1968: The Body in the Bathtub
Index of Names
W ITH FEARLESSNESS AND TENACITY, WITH COMBATIVENESS AND UNFLAGGING stamina, Fritz Bauer devoted his life to humanity. His passionate advocacy of an enlightened society-in the best sense of the word enlightened -is one of the recurring motifs of his biography. This motif emerges in his championing of rational penal practice during his time as a young judge in Stuttgart. It is also present in his spirited defense of the Weimar Republic as the first democracy on German soil. But nowhere is it more evident than in the fight he began in the early years of the West German republic and continued until his premature death in the watershed year 1968. As attorney general of the state of Brunswick and later of Hesse, Bauer dragged Nazi tyranny into the spotlight. He forced German society-a society whose self-definition largely refused to acknowledge its past, despite the fact that this past clearly continued to be very present-to examine its history. Bauer confronted the young republic with a disturbing and shameful panorama of injustice. His fight for a legal reckoning with Nazi society and its crimes culminated in the first Frankfurt Auschwitz trial, which took place between 1963 and 1965.
Bauer met with opposition and hostility throughout his life. He was ostracized, persecuted, and forced into exile. Though he counted prominent figures such as Willy Brandt, Kurt Schumacher, and Theodor W. Adorno among his acquaintances, his position was always that of an outsider. One can only imagine the mental and physical toll exacted by his restless life.
While Bauer devoted great efforts to generating public interest in prosecutions of Nazi criminals, he was first and foremost a practical jurist, and his biography serves as a reminder to jurists of their potential to act courageously. All law is man-made. Human beings are responsible for creating it, enforcing it, and interpreting it. The law does not exist of its own accord; it is reliant on people who dedicate their lives to actualizing it. At a time when legal investigations into Nazism were carried out sporadically at best, Bauer showed just what could be achieved by means of the law.
Bauer s commitment to the law is even more remarkable when one considers the attitude pervading the West German judiciary at the time. Many of Bauer s colleagues had served as jurists under the Nazi regime, and they cultivated the convenient self-exculpatory myth that they had been victims of their own judicial probity. Their obedience to the law had put them at the mercy of forces beyond their control and implicated them in Nazi rule, they said, insisting that their moral integrity had nonetheless remained intact.
The restrictions imposed by the law continue to be an everyday experience for jurists. However, Fritz Bauer s life provides examples of how moral freedom can be exercised within the framework of the law. He demonstrated what the law can achieve in the hands of a jurist with courage, argumentative brilliance, and an unflagging work ethic. Bauer s biography therefore serves as a source of inspiration and a yardstick by which to evaluate the work of today s jurists.
Fritz Bauer was a democrat and a patriot who shaped German history and helped change it for the better. It is vital that we remember his life and honor his achievements. This book will make an important contribution to that end.
Prof. Andreas Vosskuhle
President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
Karlsruhe, May 2013
I WISH TO THANK THE F RITZ B AUER I NSTITUTE in Frankfurt, which in affording me the status of visiting researcher provided me with access to invaluable expertise, resources, and technical support. I am particularly grateful to Werner Renz, who generously shared his extensive knowledge with me, as well as to Dorothee Becker, Dmitrij Belkin, Raphael Gross, Werner Lott, and Katharina Rauschenberger. I shared material with Monika Boll, curator of the Frankfurt Jewish Museum s 2014 exhibition on Bauer s life and work, and together we discovered new information on Bauer s time as a young judge, on his problems with the Danish authorities while in exile, and on his run-ins with the law because of alleged homosexual activities. This information is discussed in Chapters 4 , 5 , and 9 of this book and formed part of the exhibition.
Marcel B hles, Michael Buchholz, and Patrick Schwentke assisted me with my research and helped uncover material relating to Bauer s student fraternity and membership of the Reichsbanner. Rolf Tiefenthal, Bauer s nephew, gave me access to private photos from the family archive, for which I am very grateful. Irmtrud Wojak was kind enough to provide me with scans of these photos. I discussed Bauer s numerous publications with Lena Foljanty, whose annotated collection of Bauer s articles and essays was published in 2018. I would also like to thank Elena Lefevre Georgescu, whose many translations from Danish into German enabled me to examine in more detail the books Bauer wrote while in exile.
I am deeply appreciative of the support provided by the staff of Indiana University Press, in particular Dee Mortensen and Paige Rasmussen, and of the excellent work done by my translator, Sin ad Crowe. My thanks also go to my agent, Barbara Wenner, and to Joachim K ppner for his consistently sound advice.
Finally, this book would not have been possible without Ulrike. She reminds me every day that even the greatest humanism is ultimately expressed in our love for a single human being. This book is dedicated to her in appreciation of her patience and tremendous support.
His Secret
T HE HEAVY OAK DOOR ON G ERICHTSSTRASSE IN DOWNTOWN Frankfurt opened with barely a sound, and nobody noticed as twenty-seven-year-old Michael Maor slipped into the darkened building beyond. Maor knew exactly where to go, as they had meticulously mapped out his route for him beforehand. He made his way up the stone steps on the right until he reached the third floor, which stretched out ahead of him like a grand courtyard made of green linoleum. Moonlight streamed in through the windows. Maor s attention was immediately drawn to a prominent white door flanked by marble columns, which, in the dark, looked pitch-black rather than their usual reddish-brown color. The door led to the office of Fritz Bauer, attorney general of the state of Hesse; you can t miss it, they had told him.
The former Israeli paratrooper s mission: to photograph the file he would find on the

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