Military Justice Documentation Centre
Basic research from a comparative European perspective
The Saxon Memorial Foundation in cooperation with the Hannah Arendt Institute of Totalitarianism Studies at the Technical University of Dresden (HAIT) has initiated a documentation and research project on comparative military justice. This project is currently being conducted at Documentation and Information Centre (DIZ) Torgau.
The project has been underway since 1 April 2007 and was initially planned for a period of two years. Its goal is identify and collate source collections and biographical data regarding the Wehrmacht judiciary and military justice in Europe in general. The intent is to advance comparative research into the normative basis and practice of military justice in the Second World War. The material, some of which is widely dispersed in various libraries and archives, is being brought together for documentary and scholarly collation in databases. At a later date this collection will be made available for scholarly research.
The project includes the following three fields:
1. Identification and collation of the normative legal foundations of military justice in European states between 1914 and 1949 (ff.): The goal is to create a database of laws and ordinances of the individual states' military justice systems. The development of norms and institutions of military justice as a subsystem of the politicised justice system will be examined in National Socialism and the Stalinist Soviet Union as well as in other countries. This can produce a clearer and more refined picture of the exploitation of judicial institutions for political purposes.
2. Creation of a source collection and database of National Socialist military judicial documents and digitalisation of these documents: The National Socialist Wehrmacht judiciary produced a comparatively high number of ordinances and published legal texts. Such sources include the journal 'Zeitschrift für Wehrrecht' and the official gazettes of the military administrations in the occupied countries. Many sources are widely are widely dispersed and poorly accessible. In the future these texts will be brought together to make them more readily accessible to researchers.
3. Collective biography of the military jurists of the Third Reich: Still relatively little is known about the jurists who worked in the National Socialist Wehrmacht justice system (for the most part as Wehrmacht judges). Familiar names such as Karl Sack, Hans Filbinger and Erich Schwinge are the exception. This project will examine the biographies of these jurists, their generational and ideological mindset, their actions within the apparatus of the Wehrmacht judiciary, their practice of issuing verdicts, their margin for individual discretion, their postwar fates or careers and their influence on historical literature. The goal is develop a collective biography from these individual biographies which will be then made available for scholarly research.
Documentation and Information Centre (DIZ) Torgau
Military Justice Documentation Centre Project
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