Welcome

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

LT.-COMMANDER HARRIS: May it please the Tribunal, we would like to offer, merely as a supplement to our last exhibit, a new document which has just come to our hands, which is Document 4054-PS and becomes Exhibit USA 921. The only significance of this document is that it shows that the SD was running agents in Los Angeles, California, shortly before the outbreak of war between the United States and Germany.
THE PRESIDENT: You have got a copy of this, Dr. Gawlik? Have you got a copy of it?

DR. GAWLIK: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to re-examine?

DR. GAWLIK: I have no questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire. And I think that finishes your evidence, Dr. Gawlik – that is all of your evidence, is it not? That is all of your evidence, is it not? Wait a minute. You have no more witnesses, have you?

DR. GAWLIK: I have no more witnesses, Mr. President.

[Page 232]

THE PRESIDENT: In what order is it that the counsel for the organizations wish to proceed now?
DR. KUBUSCHOK (counsel for the Reich Government): It is prescribed that the witnesses for the Reich Government will be examined now.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I call the witness Dr. Franz Schlegelberger to the stand.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?

THE WITNESS: Franz Schlegelberger.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me.

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth, and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: Sit down.

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY DR. KUBUSCHOK:

Q. Witness, from what year on were you employed in the Ministry of Justice?

A. To begin with, I was judge in courts of first and second instances, and from 1918 I was first an assistant and then a “Geheimrat” (privy councillor) in the ministry.

Q. When did you become State Secretary?

A. In 1931.

Q. At what time, after the death of the Reich Justice Minister Guertner, did you carry on the affairs of the Ministry of Justice?

A. From January, 1941, to August, 1942.

Q. Were you a member of the Party?

A. I was originally not a member of the Party and I never requested admission into the Party. To my great surprise, on the 30th of January, 1938, I received a letter from the chief of the Fuehrer’s Chancellery that the Fuehrer had authorized my admission into the Party. Of course I could not reject this letter, and I should like to call myself an involuntary member of the Party.

Q. Were you in very close personal contact with Minister Guertner, so that you were constantly kept informed by him of all questions, not only of the Ministry of Justice but also of all general Government questions?

A. Yes.

Q. Was Guertner already Minister of Justice in the Papen Cabinet?

A. Yes.

Q. Was Guertner previously Minister of justice in the province of Bavaria?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the activity of the entire Government which met for cabinet sessions in the first period of the Hitler Cabinet – I mean the time up to the decree of the Enabling Act – differ from previous practice?

A. No, the business was thoroughly discussed and conflicting opinions were debated.

Q. Did this change after the Enabling Act was issued?

A. Yes. The March elections and the adoption of the Enabling Act by the Reichstag had greatly strengthened Hitler’s position. At first Hitler was quite reserved, modest with yon Hindenburg, or perhaps even embarrassed. Now he was filled with the thought that he was the executor of the popular will. Perhaps that can be explained by the fact that Hitler had directed all his activities to winning over the masses; that he now saw success; that he believed he had judged the will of the people correctly; that he considered himself the personification of the people’s will; and that he wanted to execute its authority.

[Page 233]

Q. Did the combining of the position of the Reich Chancellor with that of the Reich President, in August, 1934 – in addition to the general legal effects – have any influence on the position and functions of the Cabinet?
A. Yes; I see in this law the last step in the concentration of all power in the person of Hitler, and I therefore judge this law as important, particularly because it was generally approved by the decision of the people.

Q. Was this development also expressed in the law of the 16th of October, 1934, in regard to the oath of allegiance for the ministers – was the duty of obedience towards the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor established for the ministers?

A. Yes, and this law meant that the ministers, like other officials, were now bound by instructions.

Q. Did the ministers now have the possibility to resign on their own wish?

A. No.

Q. Did later laws further reduce the activity of the Cabinet?

A. Yes. I am thinking of the law on the Four-Year Plan and on the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich.

Q. Were considerable parts of the governmental activity de- centralised and assigned to special offices? I am thinking of the appointment of Gauleiter, Reich Commissioners, Chiefs of civil administration?

A. Yes; the Gauleiter were appointed “Reichsstatthalter” (Reich Governors) and Reich Defence Commissioners. The “General Plenipotentiary for Administration” was created, and the “General Plenipotentiary for Economy and for Labour Commitment.”

Q. Through the law on the unity of the Party and State, of theist of December, 1934 did co-operation between Party and State agencies arise in practice, or how did conditions develop in fact?

A. Whoever had believed in this co-operation was soon severely disappointed. From the very beginning severe contrasts were shown between the State offices and the Party offices and I can say from my own experience that an extraordinarily large part of the work became necessary because State agencies had to overcome the influence of the Party offices.

Q. For what purposes and under what conditions was the Enabling Act submitted to the Reichstag in March, 1933?

A. The Enabling Act, which is called the “Law to relieve the distress of People and Reich,” was issued because the cumbersome machinery of the Reichstag worked too slowly and laws had to be created speedily. It had been expected that only a temporary solution would be found with the Enabling Act and for that reason it was limited to four years; later it was repeatedly extended.

Q. For what reasons were special courts established and what special circumstances were there in this procedure?

A. Special courts were already established during the Bruning Cabinet in 1931, temporarily, and now they were created again because in this way they wanted to deal quickly with things which needed special expedition. This could be achieved only with legal means eliminated, but in order to avoid unjust procedure and unjust sentences, a number of checks were established. (1) The resumption of closed legal procedure in favour of the defendant was made easier; (2) The plea of invalidity, to the Reich Court was granted, which meant that the Reich Court could quash a sentence and substitute another; (3) A special appeal to the Reich Court was instituted by means of which a completely new trial could be started. Finally, an official defence was instituted.

I may emphasize that the special courts and the legal devices which I have mentioned were as much in favour of, as against, the defendants, that these special courts were regular judicial courts and not exceptional courts, and that they were each conducted by three professional judges.

Q. What have you to say regarding the law of the 3rd of July, 1934, by which the measures of Hitler, taken on the 30th of June, 1934, were legalised?

[Page 234]

A. According to Hitler’s statement and according to the wording of the law, this concerned exclusively the SA men who, according to Hitler’s statement, which was credible at the time, had intended a revolt. To that extent, the law was absolutely justifiable because revolt meant a state of emergency in the sense of the term generally recognized in Germany. It was different in the case of those victims of the occurrence who were not among the members of the revolt. Hitler stated moreover that it was to that extent that cases should be prosecuted by law. A number of trials were started that ended in severe sentences. In a number of cases, however, Hitler used his legal right of veto. For example, in the cases of Klaussner and Edgar Jung, and as a result of the veto in these cases, a trial was no longer possible.
Q. Did you and the Reich Minister of Justice Guertner know of the “Nuremberg laws” before the decision was made at the Reich Party Rally?

A. No. I had already left the Reich Party Rally and learned of these laws, on my journey, through the newspapers or radio. The Reich Minister of Justice, Dr. Guertner, as I know for certain from him, himself, was not informed beforehand of the intention to issue these laws.

Q. What was the purpose of taking over the Department of Justice by the Reich?

A. This was primarily in the general tendency of centralisation but, in addition, the Reich Ministry of Justice carried out this measure with the greatest energy. The provincial ministries of justice everywhere had National Socialist ministers and probably State Secretaries, and this caused a number of embarrassing situations. The taking over of the Department of Justice by the Reich had the effect that now it came into the hands of a Minister of justice and his State Secretary who were not National Socialists.

Q. What was the relationship between the Party agencies and the Ministry of Justice?

A. As a result of the transfer of the Department of Justice to the Reich, strong efforts were soon made by the Party to exert influence on the Ministry of Justice first by way of personal politics. The legal situation was such that according to an order of the Fuehrer, the Party had to be heard before a judge, or a high legal official. The Party did not limit itself to commenting on the Ministry of Justice’s candidate, but vigorously put forward candidates of its own. As soon as the Minister, and later I myself, became convinced that the Party wanted to have an unsuitable man in the position, we opposed him and we kept the position open. Later it was filled by a different man who was more suitable, at least in our opinion.

Repeatedly, we observed that in civil trials Party agencies approached the judges and tried to persuade them that in the public interest this or that decision was necessary. In order to spare the judges this painful discussion, at the suggestion of the Minister of Justice the law on the co- operation of the State Prosecutor in civil cases was issued, according to which the judge to whom such an announcement was made could tell the Party agency: “Apply to the prosecuting authority, it is competent to work for the public interest.”

I recall further a case in which the then Gauleiter Adolf Wagner told me in Munich that he was going to appear uninvited at a civil trial and make a speech in order to convince the court that this Party member had Party rights in a civil trial. On behalf of the Reich Minister of Justice, I then visited the defendant Hess and asked him to prevent the appearance of Gauleiter Wagner, and this wish was granted.

Another means to influence justice was to criticise sentences of judges that they did not like. This criticism was made by the SS newspaper Schwarzes Korps.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. How does this evidence bear on the Reich Cabinet?

[Page 235]

DR. KUBUSCHOK: The witness is particularly familiar with conditions in the Ministry of Justice, from his own activities. I am limiting myself to a few very significant cases in which the situation in the Ministry is explained. I have no more questions on this point and I believe the witness is almost finished with his answer.
THE PRESIDENT: Go on.

A. The Schwarzes Korps repeatedly promised to stop the criticism, but did not keep their promises. The Ministry of Justice utilised every opportunity in conferences with the Presidents of the Provincial Appellate Courts and the Provincial Prosecutors to tell them to point out to the justices that they were independent and should reject every attempt at intimidation and report all difficult cases to the Minister.

Q. In cases of ill-treatment and excesses in concentration camps which became known to you, did the Ministry of Justice take steps to intervene?

A. According to my information the Minister of justice intervened in cases of which he was aware. As early as 1933 he employed two lawyers in the Ministry of Justice for the express purpose of investigating on the spot all cases which were reported, and to follow them up with great energy. Prosecution ensued and in many cases sentence was passed. Since 1939 and the introduction of the special jurisdiction of the SS, these matters were withdrawn from the competence of the Ministry of Justice.

Q. What were the personal relations of the Ministers to Hitler?

A. I believe one must make a distinction between Hitler’s relations to the Party Ministers and the non-Party Ministers. If they did not belong to the Party, he was distant; he did not trust them. Even with the Ministers who were of the Party the relationship, as I saw it, varied greatly. I believe, for example, that Ministers Rust and Darre were not nearly as close to him as Goering and Goebbels. But Party Ministers, too, Hitler did not always trust. This is already indicated by the fact that, as far as I know, there were even Party Ministers who for years were not admitted to report personally to the Fuehrer.

Q. Was Hitler’s circle of close confidants from ministries comparatively small?

A. Yes, very small. To my knowledge it was limited to a few persons.

Q. Did Hitler take measures to prevent co-operation of the members of the Cabinet or even personal contact between ministers?

A. Hitler’s point of view was that frequent meetings of the Cabinet members were undesirable. From 1938 on he firmly prevented all attempts to return to the form of Cabinet meetings, even expressly prohibited unofficial meetings such as a “beer evening.”

Q. Did you and Minister of Justice Guertner, before the outbreak of the war or before the beginning of any of the later hostile actions, know anything about Hitler’s plans?

A. No. I may remark that I had the intention in the late summer of 1939 to take a cure in Marienbad. For that reason, as the situation was tense, I asked the Minister of Justice what he thought about it, and he said, ” Go right ahead. I consider it out of the question that there will be any hostilities.” Then I went to Marienbad, and returned only at the beginning of September when the war broke out.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I have finished the examination.

http://www.nizkor.org

The Defendant Schlegelberger
The defendant Schlegelberger was born on 23 October 1875 in Koenigsberg. He received the degree of Doctor of Law at the University of Leipzig in 1899 and passed the higher State law examination in 1901. He is the author of several law books. His first employment was as an assistant judge at the Local Court in Koenigsberg. In 1904 he became judge at the District Court at Lyck. In 1908 he was appointed judge of the Local Court in Berlin and in the fall of the same year was appointed as an assistant judge of the Berlin Court of Appeals. He was then appointed Councillor of the Berlin Court of Appeals in 1914, where he worked until 1918. During the first World War, on 1 April 1918 he became an assistant to the Reich Board of Justice. On 1 October 1918 he was appointed Privy Government Councillor and department chief. In 1927 he was appointed Ministerial Director in the Reich Ministry of Justice. On 10 October 1931 he was appointed Secretary of State in the Reich Ministry of Justice under Ministe of Justice Guertner, which position he held until Guertner’s death. Upon Guertner’s death on 29 January 1941 Schlegelberger was put in charge of the Reich Ministry of Justice as Administrative Secretary of State. When Thierack became the new Minister of Justice on 20 August 1942, Schlegelberger resigned from the Ministry.

In 1938 Hitler ordered Schlegelberger to join the NSDAP. Schlegelberger testified that he made no use of the Party, that he never attended a Party meeting, that none of his family belonged to the Party, and that Party attitudes often rendered his position difficult. However, upon his retirement as Acting Minister of Justice on 20 August 1942, Schlegelberger received a letter of appreciation from Hitler together with a gift of 100,000 RM.

Later, in 1944, Hitler gave Schlegelberger the special privilege to use the 100,000 RM to purchase a farm, which under the rule then prevailing could have been purchased only be an expert agriculturist. Schlegelberger states that the 100,000 RM were on deposit in a Berlin German bank to his account when the collapse came. Thus it is shown that Hitler and Schlegelberger were not too objectionable to each other. These transactions also show that Hitler was at least attempting to reward Schlegelberger for good and fathful service rendered, in the performance of some of which Schlegelberger committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity as charged in the indiectment.

We have already adverted to his speech at the University of Rosteck on 10 March 1936, on the subject A Nation Beholds Its Rightful Law. In this speech Schlegelberger declared:

In the sphere of criminal law the road to a creation of justice in harmony with the moral concepts of the New Reich has been opened uop by a new wording of Section 2 of the Criminal Code, whereby a person is also (to) be punished even if his deed is not punishable according to the law, but if he deserves punishment in accordance with the basic concepts of criminal law and the sound instincts of the people. This new definition became necessary because of the rigidity of the norm in force hitherto.
As amended, Section 2 remained in effect until repealed by Law No. 11 of the Allied Control Council. The term the sound people’s sentiment as used in amended Section 2 has been the subject of much discussion and difference of view as to both its proper translation and interpretation. We regard the statute as furnishing no objective standards by which the people’s sound sentiment may be measured. In application and in fact this expression became the healthy instincts of Hitler and his co-conspirators.

What has been said with regard to the amendment to Section 2 of the Criminal Code is equally true of the amendment of Section 170a of the Code by the decree of Hitler of 28 June 1935, which is also signed by Minister Guertner and which provides:

If an act deserves punishment according to the common sense of the people but is not declared punishable in the Code, the prosecution must investigate whether the underlying principle of a penal law can be applied to the act and whether justice can be helped to triumph by the proper application of the penal law.
This new conception of criminal law was a definite encroachment upon the rights of the individual citizen because it subjected him to the arbitrary opinion of the judge as to what constituted an offense. It destroyed the feeling of legal security and created an atmosphere of terrorism. This principle of treating crimes by analogy provided an expedient instrumentality for the enforcement of Nazi principles in the occupied countries. German criminal law was therefore introduced in the incorporated areas and also in the non-incorporated territories, and German criminal law was thereafter applied by German courts in the trial of inhabitants of occupied countries though the inhabitants of those countries could have no possible conception of the acts which would constitute criminal offenses.
In the earlier portions of this opinion we have repeatedly referred to the actions of the defendant Schlegelberger. Repetition would serve no good purpose. By way of summary we may say that Schlegelberger supported the pretension of Hitler in his assumption of power to deal with life and death in disregard of even the pretense of judicial process. By his exhortations and directives, Schlegelberger contributed to the destruction of judicial independence. It was his signature on the decree of 7 February 1942 which imposed upon the Ministry of Justice and the courts the burden of the prosecution, trial, and disposal of the victims of Hitler’s Night and Fog. For this he must be charged with primary responsibility.
He was guilty of instituting and supporting procedures for the wholesale persecution of Jews and Poles. Concerning Jews, his ideas were less brutal than those of his associates, but they can scarcely be called humane. When the “final solution of the Jewish question” was under discussion, the question arose as to the disposition of half-Jews. The deportation of full Jews to the East was then in full swing throughout Germany. Schlegelberger was unwilling to extend the system to half-Jews. He therefore proposed to Reich Minister Lammers, by secret letter on 5 April 1942:

The measures for the final solution of the Jewish question should extend only to full Jews and descendants of mixed marriages of the first degree, but should not apply to descendants of mixed marriages of the second degree.

With regard to the treatment of Jewish descendants of mixed marriages of the first degree, I agree with the conception of the Reich Minister of the Interior which he expressed in his letter of 16 February 1942, to the effect that the prevention of propagation of these descendants of mixed marriages is to be preferred to their being thrown in with the Jews and evacuated. It follows therefrom that the evacuation of those half-Jews who are no more capable of propagation is obviated from the beginning. There is no national interest in dissolving the marriage between such half-Jews and a full-blooded German.

Those half-Jews who are capable of propagation should be given the choice to submit to sterilization or to be evacuated in the same manner as Jews.

Schlegelberger knew of the pending procedures for the evacuation of Jews and acquiesced in them. As to half-Jews his only suggestion wts that they be given the frne choice of either one of the impaling horns of a dilemma. On 17 April 1941 Schlegelberger wrote to Lammars as follows:
On being informed of the Fuehrer’s intention to discriminate in the sphere of penal law between the Poles (and probably tho Jews as well), and the Germans, I prepared., after preliminary discussions with the presidents of the courts of appeal and the attorney-generals of the annexed Eastern territories, the attached draft concerning the administration of the penal law against the Poles and Jews in the annexed Eastern territories anel in the territory of the former Free City of Danzig.
The draft of a proposed ordincance concerning the administration of justice regarding the Poles and Jews in the incorporated Eastern territories” was attached to his letter and is in evidence. A comparison of its phraseology with the phraseology contained in the notorious law against Poles and Jews of 4 December 1941 discloses beyond question that Schlegelberger’s draft constituted the basis on which, with certain modifications and changes, the law against Poles and Jews was enacted. In this respoct he was not only guilty of participation in the racial persecution of Poles and Jews; he was also guilty of violation of the laws and customs of war by establishing that legislation in the occupied territories of the East. The extension of this type of law into occupied territories was in direct violation of the limitations imposed by The Hague Convention, which we have previously cited.

It is of interest to note that on 31 January 1942 Schlegelberger issued a decree providing that the provisions of the law against Poles and Jews will be equally applicable with the consent of the public prosecutor to offenses committed before the decree came into force. We doubt if the defendant would contend that the extension of this discriminatory and retroactive law into occupied territory was based on military necessity.

Schlegelberger divorced his inclinations from his conduct. He disapproved of the revision of sentences by the police, yet he personally ordered the murder of the Jew Luftgas on the request of Hitler and assured the Fuehrer that he would himself take action if the Fuehrer would inform him of other sentences which were disapproved.

Schlegelberger’s attitude toward atrocities committed by the police must be inferred from his conduct. A milking hand, Bloodling, was sentenced to death in October 1940, and during the trial he insisted his purported confession had been obtained as a result of beatings imposed upon him by the police officer Klinzmann. A courageous judge tried Klinzmann and convicted him of brutality and sentenced him to a few months imprisonment. Himmler protested against the sentence of Klinzmann and stated that he was going “to take the action of the Hauptwachtmeister of the police Klinzmann as an occasion to express gratitude for hiss farsighted conduct which was only beneficial to the community.” He said further:

I must reward his action because otherwise the joy of serving in the police would be destroyed by such verdicts. But finally K has to be rehabilitated in public because his being sentenced by a court is known in public.
On 10 December 1941 Schlegelberger wrote to the Chief of the Reich Chancellery stating that he was unable to understand the sentence passed against Klinzmann. We quote:
No sooner had the verdict passed on Klinzmann become known here, orders were for this reason to be given to the effect that the sentence, in case of its validation, should not be carried out for the time beign. Instead, reports concerning the granting of a pardon should be made as soon as possible. In the meantime, however, the sentence passed on Klinzmann became valid, by decision of the Reich Court of 24 November 1941, which abandoned the procedure of revision as apparently unfounded. Taking into regard also the opinion you expressed on the sentence, Sir, I now ordered the remission of the sentcnce and of the costs of proceedings by by way of pardon as well as sking out of the penalty note in the criminal records.
On 24 December 1941 Schlegelberger wrote to Lammers that he had quashed the proceedings. In February 1942 Himmler wrote expressing appreciation of the efforts in quashing the proceedings against Klinzmann and stated that he had since promoted him to Minister of the Municipal Police.

Schlegelberger presents an interesting defense, which is also claimed in some measure by most of the defendants. He asserts that the administration of justice was under persistent assault by Himmler and other advocates of the police state. This is true. He contends that if the functions of the administration of justice were usurped by the lawless forces unler Hitler and Himmler, the last state of the nation would be worse than the first. He feared that if he were to resign, a worse man would take his place. As the event proved, there is much truth in this also. Under Thierack the police did usurp the functions of the administration of justice and murdered untold thousands of Jews and political prisoners. Upon analysis this plausible claim of the defense squares neither with the truth, logic, or the circumstances.

The evidence conclusively shows that in order to maintain the Minisistry of Justice in the good graces of Hitler and to prevent its utter defeat by Himmler’s police, Schlegleberger and the other defendants who joined in this claim of justification took over the dirty work which the leaders of the State demanded, and employed the Ministry of Justice as a means for exterminating the Jewish and Polish populations, terrorizing the inhabitants of occupied countries, and wiping out political opposition at home. That their program of racial extermination under the guise of law failed to attain the proportions which were reached by the pogroms, deportations, and mass murders by the police, is cold comfort to the survivors of the “judicial”l process and constitutes a poor excuse before this Tribunal. The prostitution of a judicial system for the accomplishment of criminal ends involves an element of evil to the State which is not found in frank atrocities which do not sully judicial robes.

Schlegelberger resigned. The cruelties of the system which he had helped to develop were too much for him, but he resigned too late. The damage was done. If the judiciary could slay their thousands, why couldn’t the police slay their tens of thousands? The consequences which Schlegelberger feared were realized. The police, aided by Thierack prevailed. Schlegelbergcr had failed. His hesitant injustices no longer satisfied the urgent demands of the hour. He retired under fire. In spite of all that he had done he still bore an unmerited reputation as the last of the German jurists and so Hitler gave him his blessing and 100,000 RM as a parting gift. We are under no misapprehension. Schlegelberger is a tragic character He loved the life of intellect, the work of the scholar. We believe that he loathed the evil that he did, but he sold that intellect and that scholarship to Hitler for a mass of political pottage and for the vain hope of personal security. He is guilty under Counts two and three of the indictment.

http://www.law.umkc.edu

Schlegelberger served in the Ministry of Justice from 1931-1942. For the last seventeen months of his service, Schlegelberger was Director of the Ministry of Justice. He wrote several books on the law and was called at the time of his retirement, “the last of the German jurists.” Schlegelberger argued in his defense that he was bound to follow the orders of Hitler, the “Supreme Judge” of Germany, but that he did so only reluctantly. Schlegelberger pointed out that he did not join the Nazis until 1938, and then only because he was ordered to do so by Hitler. Schlegelberger claimed to have harbored no ill-will toward the Jews. His personal physician, in fact, was Jewish. In his defense, he also stresses that he resisted the proposal that sent “half Jews” to concentration camps. Schlegelberger suggested giving “half Jews” a choice between sterilization and evacuation. He also argued that he continued to serve as long as he did because “if I had resigned, a worse man would have taken by place.” Indeed, once Schlegelberger did resign, brutality increased.

In its decision, the Justice trial tribunal considered what it called Schlegelberger’s hesitant injustices. The tribunal concluded that Schlegelberger loathed the evil that he did and that his real love was for the life of the intellect, the work of the scholar. In the end he resigned because the cruelties of the system were too much for him. Despite its obvious sympathy with Schlegelberger’s plight, the tribunal finds him guilty. It pointed out that the decision of a man of his stature to remain in office lent credibilty to the Nazi regime. Moreover, Schegelberger did sign his name to orders that, in the tribunal’s judgment, constituted crimes. One case described in the decision involved the prosecution in 1941 of a Jew (Luftgas) accused of hoarding eggs. Schlegelberger gave Luftgas a two-and-a-half-year sentence, but then Hitler indicated that he wanted the convicted man executed. Although Schlegelberger may well have protested, he signed his name to the order that led to the execution of Luftgas. Another case cited by the tribunal concerned a remission-of-sentence order signed by Schlegelberger. Scheleberger explained in his decision that the sentence imposed against a police officer who was convicted of beating a Jewish milking hand would have been bad for the morale of officers.

Although Sclegelberger received a life sentence in Nuremberg, he was released from prison in 1951 and received a generous monthly pension until his death.

Schlegelberger, on 10 March 1936, in his speech at the University of Rosteck, on the subject A Nation Beholds Its Rightful Law declared:
It should be emphasized, however, that in the sphere of the law, also, it is the Fuehrer and he alone who sets the pace of development.

In the sphere of criminal law the road to a creation of justice in harmony with the moral concepts of the New Reich has been opened up by a new wording of Section 2 of the Criminal Code, whereby a person is also (to) be punished even if his deed is not punishable according to the law, but if he deserves punishment in accordance with the basic concepts of criminal law and the sound instincts of the people. This new definition became necessary because of the rigidity of the norm in force hitherto.

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