(JNi.media) Roland Freisler was a bad man by most yardsticks. A prominent Nazi lawyer and judge, he became State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice and President of the People’s Court, which was set up outside constitutional authority. He strongly supported rigid laws against “race defilement,” treating mixed-race marriages as racial treason. Freisler also introduced the concept of “precocious juvenile criminal” in the “Juvenile Felons Decree,” which provided the legal basis for imposing the death penalty and penitentiary terms on juveniles for the first time in German legal history. Between 1933 and 1945, German courts sentenced at least 72 German juveniles to death, among them 17-year-old Helmuth Hübener, found guilty of high treason for distributing anti-war leaflets in 1942.
In 1941, Freisler authored Germany’s criminal code, which defines a murderer as someone who kills “because of bloodlust, sexual gratification from killing, greed, or otherwise base motives.”
“Unlike other sections of Germany’s criminal code, the paragraph on murder does not describe the deed and what should be protected, namely life. Instead, it illustrates the type of person who could kill,” German attorney Pinar Gul has told GlobalPost. “That is typical of Nazi ideology.”
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has proposed updating the Strafgesetzbuch German penal code and removing from it those unmistakable traces of Nazism.
Central Council of Jews council President Josef Schuster agrees that “formulations introduced into our codes of law by the Nazis should certainly have no place there.” But, according to GlobalPost, some Germans don’t have a problem with the origin of their criminal code, as one Henny Jahn, organist from Dortmund, put it: “It’s not like anyone is trying to tear away the Autobahn, which was built by Hitler. … Quite the opposite. People use [the highways] and they do so quite happily.”
And MP Wolfgang Strobl, of of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union, told Die Welt: “When I see these days the terrible dimension that terrorist violence has taken on, I think we have much more important issues to solve.”
As it stands, the law compels judges to issue life sentences to those convicted of succumbing to “bloodlust” and committing murder. According to Dieter Dolling of Heidelberg University’s Criminology Institute, the proposed reform would allow judges to consider extenuating circumstances when sentencing convicted murderers.
On February 3, 1945, Freisler was presiding over a trial in Berlin, when the building was bombed by an Allied raid. Some witnesses claim that Freisler was crushed to death by falling masonry. Others claim that he bled to death outside of the court house ruinsJNi.Media