History, law, nazi

a lawyer, a professor of law, a doctor of law, who, believing in Hitler’s ‘higher’ justice, became a Nazi lawyer



In light of what is happening in Ukraine. In light of the Nuremberg trials . . .


On May 15, 1946, this man, a lawyer & law professor, was hanged for murder.

His name forever stains the roster of those who profess to a greater knowledge of the law in order to facilitate justice and fairness in their communities.


Eberhardt Karl Schoengarth (also sometimes presented as Schoengarth), born in 1903, was a German lawyer & law professor who ultimately became a Nazi lawyer.

Schoengarth not only had a law degree but also a doctorate of law.  It was as “Doctor Schoengarth” that he was referred to as professor of law at Leibinitz University in Germany.


At his trial, & again according to MacPherson’s book:

“The president of the court had asked him, ‘If you received an order from Hitler or Himmler that you were to disregard the rights of prisoners of war, would you as a doctor of law have felt bound to obey that or not?’”

What the judge had thrown out at Schoengarth was a unique variation of the defense of superior orders, that Schoengarth was acting as a military officer in accordance with orders he had received & could not therefore be personally held criminally liable for those actions.

But Schoengarth, it seemed, had become through & through evil or just resigned to his fate. He replied, “as a doctor of law”:

I would have had to carry out this order, as an order has to be carried out even if it cancels any existing laws.”

And then he felt obliged to add this to the Court record: that he was proud of his service as a Nazi and as a Gestapo officer.

He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging which was carried out on May 15, 1946.




Schoengarth’s ‘pure’ theory of law, then, may be studied without reference to political, moral or sociological notions.

Legal positivism is the study of the science of law as separate & independent from morality & notions of ethics.






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