Lecture and Discussion The Rosenburg Files ‒ The Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nazi-Past

Rosenburg, the official residence of the German Federal Ministry of Justice © Gerd J. Nettersheim Rosenburg, the official residence of the German Federal Ministry of Justice © Gerd J. Nettersheim

Wed, 04/05/2017

Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street NW, Suite 03
(Entrance on 20th Street NW, lower level)
Washington, DC

In January 2012, the German Federal Ministry of Justice tasked an Independent Academic Commission with investigating the Ministry’s national-socialist legacy during the early years of the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany. The Ministry wanted to know whether, and to what extent, continuities existed in terms of personnel between the Nazi regime and the Federal Republic of Germany in its founding years, and in what ways this had had an effect on the Ministry's substantive work in both law-making and the prosecution of Nazi criminals. Under the direction of Professor Manfred Görtemaker (University of Potsdam) and Professor Christoph Safferling (University of Erlangen-Nuremburg), the Commission was given unrestricted access to the Ministry's files, and the Ministry supported the Commission's work actively and without reservation.
 
A few months ago, the Commission published its concluding report in a book entitled Die Akte Rosenburg: Das Bundesministerium der Justiz und die NS-Vergangenheit [The Rosenburg Files: The Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nazi-Past] (named after the first official seat of the Ministry), following a launch in Berlin. The report generated considerable interest among the German general public and was widely covered in the media. It casts a dark shadow on the first decades in the history of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Numerous members of the Ministry's executive staff had been involved in the power apparatus of the “Third Reich,” and this had had far-reaching consequences with regard to the Federal Republic’s dealing with the legacy of Nazism: Nazi laws were corrected only in a superficial manner, there was ongoing discrimination against former victims, and the prosecution of Nazi criminals was thwarted. Yet today, the Federal Ministry of Justice is facing up to its history. The Ministry believes it is an important task for it to relate the findings to the victims of National Socialism and their descendants, and to enter into a dialogue with them about the consequences that must be drawn.
 
During his official state visit to the United States, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection Christian Lange will draw particular attention to the Rosenburg Project.
 
Introduction:
State Secretary Christian Lange, German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
 
Presentation:
“The Rosenburg Files ‒ Research and Findings”
Prof. Dr. Manfred Görtemaker, University of Potsdam
 
Panel Discussion:
Dr. Richard F. Wetzell, German Historical Institute (Moderation)
Rabbi Andrew Baker, American Jewish Committee
Prof. Dr. Christoph Safferling, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Dr. Elizabeth B. White, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Reception follows.

Organized in cooperation with the German Historical Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the American Jewish Committee.

Eventbrite – Goethe-Institut Washington

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