Southwestern to present international exhibit "Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich"
Two formal presentations at Southwestern will explore the failure of the rule of law in Nazi Germany in conjunction with the exhibit
In 1933 Germany, a decree was issued to deny Jewish judges and lawyers access to the courts, jettisoning individual rights and the rule of law during the Nazi era. In 2000, the German Federal Bar created a traveling exhibit, "Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich," as a reminder of this unconscionable violation of human rights. The exhibit, that has been presented in more than 80 cities around the world, will open at Southwestern on August 25, 2014, with special receptions and related programming on August 25 and September 11.
"The enormous tragedy of what happened in Germany in the 1930s is a story of the failure of fundamental legal principles and processes," said Southwestern's Dean Susan Prager. "It is equally a story of the failure of lawyers and of judges to serve the rule of law. The result was the destruction of an ethical and humane society. That is why we at Southwestern are proud to host such an important exhibit, which emphasizes the continuing crucial significance of the rule of law in defense of a society."
On Monday, August 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, the opening reception will feature Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center & Museum of Tolerance, who will deliver the keynote address; Axel Filges, President of the German Federal Bar; Jay Sanderson, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles; and Southwestern Dean Susan Prager. This event is offered free to the public; however, reservations are required by August 18.
On Thursday, September 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Southwestern will host a Continuing Legal Education program, "Where was the Rule of Law? Where were the Ethics?" in conjunction with the exhibit. This presentation will feature Hon. Richard D. Fybel, Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal; Hon. Bruce J. Einhorn (Federal Immigration Judge, Ret.), member of the Executive Committee of the Anti-Defamation League Pacific Southwest Region; and E. Randol Schoenberg, President of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The cost to attend is $45 before September 6, $60 at the door, and $10 for students with I.D. The event offers one hour of State Bar of California MCLE Ethics credit.
The exhibit dates back to 1998, when an Israeli lawyer asked the regional bar of Berlin for a list of Jewish lawyers whose licenses 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," Filges said. "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."
In addition to Southwestern, sponsorship for the Lawyers Without Rights exhibit is being provided by the American Bar Association, Anti-Defamation League, German Federal Bar, German Foreign Office, Ron and Rhonda Papell, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and Simon Wiesenthal Center. Click here to register for these events and for more information.