Lawyers without rights

SENIOR representatives of the Bar Council and the Law Society attended a reception in Temple Church which marks the opening of an exhibition commemorating the suffering endured by Jewish lawyers under the Third Reich. Mounted by the German Federal Bar (BRAK), the Jewish Museum London, and Temple Church, the exhibition reveals the persecution of lawyers by the Nazi regime in the run-up to the Second World War, which led, in 1938, to a ban which prevented Jewish lawyers from practising in Germany.

The exhibition sets out the lives and fates of some of the lawyers who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime. Out of 19, 276 lawyers in Germany, many were Jewish or considered to be Jewish by the German Government. Of these, huge numbers became victims of the holocaust. The majority of those who managed to escape persecution sought refuge abroad; among those who fled to Britain were Otto Kahn-Freund, Michael Kerr and Gunter Treitel, all of whom were later knighted in recognition of their services to the law.

The exhibition, which runs from the 1st May to the 31st July, is a detailed and poignant account of the Jewish lawyers who suffered at the hands of a dictator – and a reminder that many of those who fled Nazi Germany died in exile, unable to return to their home country.