Nazis block Jews from entering the University of Vienna. Austria, 1938. Photograph from the National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, MD
The Osgoode Hall Law School Library is proud to be hosting the highly acclaimed international exhibition “Lawyers without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich”. The exhibition was prepared by the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) and was translated into English and prepared for exhibit in North America by the American Bar Association. It has been shown in nearly 100 cities in Germany, the United States and other countries: the Osgoode Library is the only Canadian venue for the exhibit. The exhibition at Osgoode is sponsored by the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security at Osgoode Hall Law School.
“As important as it is to our everyday lives as a bulwark against arbitrary governance, the rule of law can never be taken for granted,” said Associate Professor and Nathanson Director François Tanguay-Renaud. “This exhibition – focusing on an insufficiently known aspect of the Third Reich – constitutes a vibrant historical testament to the importance of lawyers in holding governments to account, and the grave threats to social organization that inevitably follow when their role is undermined.
“Given Osgoode’s core mission to educate tomorrow’s lawyers and, through bodies like the Nathanson Centre, generate cutting-edge research about their responsibilities and predicaments at home and abroad, ‘Lawyers without Rights’ serves as a forceful, eye-opening reminder of what we stand for, and stand against,” said Tanguay-Renaud.
The idea for the exhibition was conceived in 1998 when an Israeli lawyer asked the regional bar of Berlin for a list of Jewish lawyers whose licences had been revoked by the Nazi regime.
“The regional bar decided not only to research a list of names but also to try to find out more about the fates behind all those names,” said Axel Filges, past president of the German Federal Bar. “Some were able to leave the country after the Nazis came into power, but very many of them were incarcerated or murdered. The non-Jewish German lawyers of those days remained silent. They failed miserably, and so did the lawyers’ organizations. We do not know why.”
After the Berlin bar transformed its research into an exhibition, other regional bars began asking whether they could show it and add their own research. “So, like a puzzle, a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany has emerged step by step,” Filges said.
Related to the exibit, Osgood Hall Law School and The Nathanson Centre will host “Nuremberg at 70: A Commemorative Panel on the Implications of the Trials for Legal and Medical Ethics” on Saturday, November 20, 2015. Speakers include Mélanie Deshaies (Osgoode), Eric Gertner (Ryerson/McCarthy Tétrault), Hengameh Saberi(Osgoode), and Dean Lorne Sossin (Osgoode). The panel will be take place at Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), in Room IKB 2027, 12:30-2:30 pm.
The exhibit is on view in the Library from Monday, November 9, through Sunday, November 22. The hours are Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm; Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.