The Reformation of the German Courts

However, the power of the SS would have been greatly reduced were it not for the reformation of the German courts. The system known as “Independence of the Judiciary” requires that the judicial system is not influenced by politics or the Government, so as to prevent the Government from persecuting opponents through the justice system. However, in 1933-4, all anti-Nazi and Jewish judges were sacked to ensure verdicts were in keeping with Nazi ideology. Judges who were thought to have been “too lenient” or to have “misconducted” trials were severely admonished, and in some cases, Hitler was known to “correct” sentences. From 1934, cases of “treason” were transferred to “People’s Courts” which were run by Nazi judges. This meant, of course, that opponents could be dealt with without any semblance to genuine law. By 1935, people could be tried for “Acts hostile to the National Community” without having violated any written law. This essentially meant that the Nazis could punish anyone beneath the guise of a legal procedure. People could also be convicted as “enemies of the state” as a result of their racial origins or their “mentality hostile to the state.” Two particular concepts were also created, known as “protective custody” and “preventive arrest”, which were used to justify the detention of people who had completed their sentences or who had been acquitted by the regular court. These violations of the judicial system allowed for the removal of any known or suspected opponents, which helped to secure the Nazi rule. 

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