Lawyers Without Rights : The fate of Jewish Lawyers in Berlin after 1933.


As the rule of law comes under attack today in both developed and Third World countries, Lawyers Without Rights tragically portrays what can happen when the just rule of law disappears -- replaced by an arbitrary rule by law that sweeps aside the rights and dignity of selected populations. The story of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Berlin and all of Germany is more than a historical footnote; it is a wake-up call that a system of justice free of improper political considerations remains fragile and should never be taken for granted. The release of the book marks an important milestone of ongoing cooperation between the American Bar Association and the German Federal Bar. Lawyers Without Rights captures the story of the occupational bans on Jewish lawyers and jurists in Berlin, the capital city and home to 3,400 attorneys. Of those, 43 percent were of Jewish origin, the largest group of any city in Germany in 1933. This story was first told in German two decades ago and updated in 2007. The book includes more than 1,600 bios of lawyers in Berlin who could no longer practice law after 1938 because of their Jewish ancestry, and notes the fate of 1,404 of them, including scores who committed suicide and more than 200 who emigrated to the United States, including some who became lawyers.



From their Forewords:


“This book, Lawyers Without Rights: The Fate of Jewish Lawyers in Berlin after 1933, helps us recollect. It recounts the early days of the Holocaust from the perspective of the law and Jewish lawyers in Germany, and Berlin specifically. It is important that we and future generations remember the misuse of laws in Germany and how it permitted a society to effectively purge a significant group of lawyers solely because of their religion, sending many in exile or to their deaths. It is about the misuse of law.”

— The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court 


“The Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation is honored to have the opportunity to underwrite this book. It stands as a tribute to the Jewish attorneys in Berlin and throughout Nazi-controlled Europe who were brutally segregated and expelled from the practice of law. … Their stories collectively provide a painful reminder of why lawyers must lead the resistance when fair justice and the rule of law come under attack. As (Arthur) Szyk said of his art, the Lawyers Without Rights project is not the aim but a means. We must all work together to keep the memory of the Holocaust current and the meaning of the rule of law relevant and alive.

— Ronald D. Abramson, lawyer and philanthropist