Death of Roland Freisler, Nazi President of the People's Court Hot

Death of Roland Freisler, Nazi President of the People's Court

Roland Friesler
Source: Deutsches Bundesarchiv

Roland Freisler dies in Berlin during an American bombing raid on the city. Freisler was an important Nazi lawyer and judge who served as State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice and President of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) in the Nazi German government.

As president of the Volksgerichtshof, Roland Freisler was in charge of the show trials used by the Nazis to deal with political dissent. He acted as judge, jury, and sometimes even prosecutor, handing down the death penalty or life imprisonment in 90% of all cases that came before him. While he chaired the First Senate of the People's Court, he was responsible for as many death sentences as all other sessions of the court put together for the entire time it existed.

Freisler also made important contributions to the "Nazification" of Germany law, which is to say the introduction into German law of racial categories and differential treatment based on race. For example, in an article entitled "Die rassebiologische Aufgabe bei der Neugestaltung des Jugendstrafrechts ("The racial-biological task involved in the reform of Juvenile Criminal Law").

Freisler wrote: "racially foreign, racially degenerate, racially incurable or seriously defective juveniles" should go to juvenile centers or correctional education centers and be segregated from those who are "German and racially valuable."

Freisler was responsible for the very first laws allowing for the execution of juveniles in Germany, introducing the concept of 'precocious juvenile criminal' in the "Juvenile Felons Decree." Freisler was, in fact, more rigid in his adherence to principles of racial purity than even Adolf Hitler, arguing for a ban on any sort of mixed-blood intercourse or relationships, no matter how little "foreign blood" might be involved — a position so extreme that it was widely criticized and not given any support by Hitler.


Roland Freisler - Hitler's Blood Judge

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