Criminal law and the judiciary in the framework of the SS and the German Police in 1939–1945 Cover Image

Trestní právo a soudnictví v rámci SS a německé policie v letech 1939–1945
Criminal law and the judiciary in the framework of the SS and the German Police in 1939–1945

Author(s): Petr Kaňák, Jan Vajskebr
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Criminal Law, Security and defense, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939), WW II and following years (1940 - 1949)
Published by: Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů
Keywords: criminal law; SS; german police; 1939-1945

Summary/Abstract: Following the launch of WWII, the Reichsfuehrer of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, significantly reinforced his position within the power hierarchy of Nazi Germany. One of his most important measures was the introduction of an independent criminal code and judiciary for the SS and the police on 17 October 1939. The result was that the Wehrmacht and the Reich’s Ministry of Justice could no longer prosecute crimes committed by SS or police officers. In addition, the SS leadership planned to draw up a special code that would acquire general validity as the basis for the Nazi rule of law. Himmler deliberately built up absolute power over the exercise of the SS and police criminal code, enabling him to do as he pleased. He turned the court apparatus into a means of maintaining internal discipline, stripping it of all the attributes of a justice system. In practice the SS criminal code was conceived in such a way that it was not derived from general legal principles; rather it was guided by ideological requirements and was to serve as an instrument for maintaining discipline in the ranks of the SS. The introduction of the SS and police’s own judicial system was one of the most striking signs of the emancipation of the Third Reich’s repressive apparatus from the state administration, party organs and the army. With the growth of Himmler’s power, numerous other organisations began gradually falling under the judicial jurisdiction of the SS and the police; by the end of the war, millions were governed by it. The SS criminal code was aimed at achieving a total Nazi vision with precedence over civilian and military judicial authorities, which also became more radical in the course of the war.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 26
  • Page Range: 38-63
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: Czech