Law in a Lawless State
The Nuremberg Justices' Case

Law in a Lawless State

"For me it is sufficient that this swine said that a German girl sat on his lap." This was the comment made by Dr. Oswald Rothaug, presiding judge of the Nuremberg Special Court, when sentencing Jewish businessman Leo Katzenberger to death in March 1942, for committing "racial defilement". Five years later, Rothaug and other high-ranking representatives of the National Socialist legal system sat in the dock as defendants in the same court room – Court Room 600.

In the Nuremberg Justices' Case, 16 former judges and high officials in the Ministry of Justice were indicted for supporting, shaping and legitimizing the state-organised system of cruelty and "crimes against humanity". The prosecution's opening statement said that "the dagger of the assassin was concealed beneath the robe of the jurist."

In this moderated discussion, participants will take a close look at the indictment, witnesses' statements, the defence strategy and the sentences. In particular the discussion will focus on the question of how to assess the defendants' statement that they only applied prevailing law.

The programme comprises a guided tour of the exhibition and Court Room 600 (if no trial is in progress) and seminar modules in the Study Centre. The 3-hour version will also look at the continuity of legal elites after 1945. In the 4-hour version, the "Katzenberger Case" is taken as an example of the perversion of justice, and judicial murder in the National Socialist state.

Target group:

Students over 14, adults


History for All - Institute for Regional History(GFA)

FormatDurationTarget groupLanguageParticipants (max)Cost * 
Moderated Discussions 120 minutesA en 25 50,00 €Enquiry
Moderated Discussions 180 minutesA en 25 70,00 €Enquiry
Moderated Discussions 240 minutesA en 25 90,00 €Enquiry
Moderated Discussions 120 minutesB en 25 80,00 €Enquiry
Moderated Discussions 180 minutesB en 25 110,00 €Enquiry
Moderated Discussions 240 minutesB en 25 140,00 €Enquiry
  • A = School and university students, young people (up to 18 years of age), apprentices, members of police and German army
  • B = Adults and tourists

* All prices are plus Admission price