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Minister of the Reich, that the highest echelons of the Land Government were to obey the orders of the competent Reich Minister, and that the employees of the Laender might be transferred into the Reich Civil Service. (1653-PS)
The Reichsrat (Reich Council) was abolished by law on 14 February 1934, and all official representation on the part of the Laender in the administration of the central government was at an end (2647-PS). The legislative pattern was complete with the enactment of the Reich Governor Law on 30 January 1935, which solidified the system of centralized control. The Reich Governor was declared to be the official representative of the Reich government, who was to receive orders directly from Hitler (Reichstatthaltergesetz (Reich Governor Law), 30 January 1935, 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 65). The same development was apparent in the provinces, the territorial subdivisions of Prussia. All local powers were concentrated in the Provincial Presidents, who acted solely as representatives of the national administration (2049–PS). Similarly, in the case of the municipalities local self-government was quickly reduced to a minimum and communal affairs were placed under central Reich control. The Nazi Party Delegate was given special functions:
in order to insure harmony between the communal administration and the Party." (Art. 6 (2)). The Reich was given supervision over the municipalities:
in order to insure that their activities conform with the laws and the aims of national leadership." (2008-PS) The Nazi conspirators frequently boasted of their comprehensive program of government centralization. Frick, Minister of the Interior throughout this period, wrote:
"The reconstruction law abolished the sovereign rights and the executive powers of the Laender and made the Reich the sole bearer of the rights of sovereignty. The supreme powers of the Laender do not exist any longer. The natural result of this was the subordination of the Land governments to the Reich government and the Land Ministers to the corresponding Reich Ministers. On 30 January 1934, the Ger
man Reich became one state. (2481-PS) In another article Frick indicated even more clearly the purposes which underlay this program of centralization:
"In the National Socialist revolution of 1933, it was stipulated for the first time in the history of the German nation that the erection of a unified state (Einheitsstaat) would be accomplished. From the early days of his political activity, 685964-46-16
Adolf Hitler never left a doubt in the mind of anyone that he considered it the first duty of National Socialism to create a German Reich in which the will of the people would be led in a single direction and that the whole strength of the nation, at home and abroad, would be placed on the balance scale." (2380-PS; 2378-PS.)
D. The Nazi conspirators united the offices of President and Chancellor in the person of Hitler. The merger of the two offices was accomplished by the law of 1 August 1934, signed by the entire cabinet (2003-PS). The official Nazi statement concerning the effect of this statute contains this observation:
“Through this law, the conduct of Party and State has been combined in one hand.
He is responsible only to his own conscience and to the German nation.” (1893-PS) One of the significant consequences of this law was to give to Hitler the supreme command of the German armed forces, always a prerequisite of the Presidency (2050-PS). Accordingly, every soldier was immediately required to take an oath of loyalty and obedience to Hitler. (2061-PS)
E. The Nazi conspirators removed great numbers of civil servants on racial and political grounds and replaced them with party members and supporters. Hitler publicly announced the conspirator's purpose:
"We know that two things alone will save us: the end of internal corruption and the cleaning out of all those who owe their existence simply to the protection of members of the same political parties. Through the most brutal ruthlessness towards all officials installed by those political parties we must restore our finances.
The body of German officials must once more become what it was." (2881-PS) The Nazi legislative machine turned to the task of purging the civil service soon after the accession to power. On 7 April 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was promulgated (1397-PS). Article 3 of this law applies the Nazi blood theories:
"(1) Officials who are not of Aryan descent are to be retired
of the Interior after consultation with the competent Minister or with the highest state authorities may permit further exceptions in the case of officials who are in foreign coun
tries." Article 8 provides that retirement does not carry a pension unless the official has served at least ten years. The political purge provision of this law is contained in Article 4:
“Officials who because of their previous political activity do not offer security that they will exert themselves for the national state without reservations, may be discharged. For three months after dismissal, they will be paid their former salary. From this time on they receive three-quarters of their pensions (see 8) and corresponding annuities for their
heirs." The provisions of the Act apply to all Reich, Land, and Communal officials (Art. 1 (2)). Civil Servants may be placed on the retired list without any reason, “for the purpose of simplifying the administration" (Art. 6). Discharges and transfers, once decided on by the appropriate administrative chief, are final and are not subject to appeal (Art. 7 (1) ).
This basic enactment was followed by a series of decrees, regulations, and amendments. For example, on 11 April 1933, the term “non Aryan” was defined to include persons with only one non-Aryan grandparent (2012-PS). An amendatory law of 30 June ruled out all civil servants married to non-Aryans. (1400-PS)
The political standards of the "Purge Law” were made more explicit by the supplementary law of 20 July 1933. Officials who belonged to any party or organization which, in the opinion of the Nazis, furthered the aims of Communism, Marxism, or Social Democracy were summarily to be discharged (1398-PS). In the later years, these earlier provisions were enlarged and codified, no longer solely for the purposes of affecting the existing civil service, but rather to set out the qualifications for the appointment of new applicants and for their promotion. Proof of devotion to National Socialism and documentary proof of acceptable "blood" were prescribed as conditions to promotion. (2326-PS)
The comprehensive German Civil Service Law of 26 January 1937 included the discriminatory provisions of the earlier legislation, and prevented the appointment of any applicants opposed or suspected of being opposed to the Nazi program and policy (2340-PS). The legislation dealing with the training and education of civil servants provided that no person can be accepted for
an official position unless he is a member of the Nazi Party or one of its formations (Gliederungen). (2341-PS)
The total subjugation of the German civil servant was ultimately accomplished by the following resolution passed by the Reichstag at the request of the Fuehrer.
without being bound by existing legal provisions, the Fuehrer must therefore in his capacity as Fuehrer of the nation, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, as Head of the Government and as the highest bearer of all power, as highest Law Lord and as Fuehrer of the Party, always be in a position to require every German-whether a simple soldier or officer, subordinate or higher official, or judge, supervisory or operating functionary of the Party, laborer or employer—to carry out his duties with all the means available to him and to discharge these duties according to a conscientious examination without reference to socalled vested rights, especially without the preambles of preexisting procedure, by removal of any man from his office, rank or position." (2755-PS)
F. The Nazi conspirators restricted the independence of the judiciary and rendered it subservient to their ends.
The independence of judges, before the Nazi regime, was guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution. The fundamental principle was stated briefly in Article 102:
"Judges are independent and subject only to the law." (2050
PS) Article 104 contained a safeguard against the arbitrary removal or suspension of judges, while Article 105 prohibited "exceptional courts". The fundamental rights of the individual are set out in Article 109 and include equality before the law. (2050-PS)
Like all other public officials, German judges who failed to meet Nazi racial and political requirements became the subject of a wide-spread purge. Non-Aryans, political opponents of the Nazis, and all persons suspected of antagonism to the aims of the Party were summarily removed (2967-PS). The provisions of the Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933 applied to all judges. This was declared expressly in the third regulation for the administration of the law. (2867PS)
To make certain that cases with political ramifications would be dealt with acceptably and in conformity with Party principles, the Nazis granted designated areas of criminal jurisdiction to the so-called Special Courts (Sondergerichte). These constituted
a new system of special criminal courts, independent of the regular judiciary and directly subservient to the Party (2076–PS). A later decree considerably broadened the jurisdiction of these courts. (2056-PS)
In 1934, the People's Court was set up as a trial court "in cases of high treason and treason" (2014-PS). This action was a direct result of the dissatisfaction of the Nazi rulers with the decision of the Supreme Court (Reichsgericht) in the Reichstag fire trial. Three of the four defendants were acquitted although the Nazi conspirators had expected convictions in all cases (2967– PS). The law which created this new tribunal contained a wide definition of treason which would include most of what were regarded by the Nazis as “political” crimes (Art. 3 (1)). The express denial of any appeal from the decisions of the People's Court (Art. 5 (2)) was a further indication of the intention of the Nazis to set up a criminal law system totally outside of accepted judicial pattern. The substantive organization of the People's Court was later established by law in 1936. (2342-PS)
These new tribunals were staffed almost exclusively with Nazis and were used to tighten the Party's grip on Germany. This control became progressively stronger, due first, to the power of the prosecutor to pick the appropriate court; second, to the restriction of defense counsel in these courts to specially admitted attorneys; and finally, to the absence of appeal from the decisions of these judges. Moreover, there developed along side of the entire judicial system the increasingly powerful police administration, under which persons opposed to the regime were regularly imprisoned in concentration camps without any type of hearing, even after acquittal by the courts. (2967-PS)
Still another group of courts was established within the Party itself. These Party Courts heard cases involving internal party discipline and infractions of the rules of conduct prescribed for members of formations and affiliated organizations. The published rules for the Party judges emphasized the complete dependence of these judges upon the directions and supervision of their Party superiors. (2402-PS)
The Nazi legal theorists freely admitted that there was no place in their scheme of things for the truly independent judge. They controlled all judges through special directives and orders from the central government. Frank underscored the role of the judge as a political functionary and as an administrator in the National Socialist state (2378-PS). Two case histories of this period serve to illustrate the manner in which criminal proceedings were directly suppressed or otherwise affected by order of the Reich government.