Otto Schweinsberger

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Otto Schweinsberger (born April 24, 1904 in Kirchhain , † after 1958) was a German lawyer . He resolutely opposed having to convict a Wehrmacht soldier for murdering Jews because that would be a verdict against National Socialism .

School, university and volunteer corps

As the son of the government building secretary Konrad Schweinsberger, he attended the community school in Kirchhain from 1910 to 1914. Then he switched to the local rectorate school until 1919. As a result of his parents moving to Marburg , he completed the upper secondary school there until 1923, which he finished with the school leaving certificate. Since 1923 he was a member of the Marburg student corps , an association in the Black Reichswehr that had participated in the fight against the communist uprising in Thuringia in 1920 . He belonged to this corps until its dissolution in 1925.

He then studied law at the University of Marburg with the first state examination in March 1927. With the theme of § 5 of the Reich Law of June 9, 1884 against the criminal and homicidal use of explosives , he gained promotion to Dr. jur.

State service, NSDAP and SA

He began his career in the legal civil service at the district court in Kirchhain. In April 1933 he joined the NSDAP . In September 1933 he became a member of the SA . In 1935 he worked as a court assessor in Kassel . With the letter of October 9, 1935 to the infantry leader V in Giessen , he applied as a candidate for the higher court martial. The latter approved his request and forwarded it to the competent Supreme War Judge at Service Supervision District I in Berlin. On February 3, 1936, his legal career began as a court martial.

Judge in the Wehrmacht

As early as 1936 he was appointed war judge. At that time he was employed as an investigative leader at the troop court of the 3rd Panzer Division . The defendant Sergeant Blosat was accused of grossly mistreating subordinates during a marching exercise. Blosat was acquitted by Schweinsberger. The Wehrmacht High Command (OKW) then reprimanded Schweinsberger. In 1937 he was promoted to court judge. In the war against the Soviet Union in 1942 he was with the General Command of the XXXX. Armored Corps used.

Balabanovka massacre

In one trial, the War Administration Inspector Alwin Wisdom was accused of having shot and killed up to 75 Jewish children, women and men on July 31, 1942 near the village of Balabanowka, which was about 300 km north of Voroshilovsk . As the competent judge-martial, Schweinsberger was to lead the trial. On September 16, 1942, he wrote to his competent court lord in this connection:

“For personal and objective reasons, I ask you to refrain from being used as a negotiator in this matter […] The main point of the indictment, I assume, is the shooting of 75 Jews. As a judge I would tend not to convict of murder, but only of presumption of office, because the accused was not competent to decide what to do with the Jews. "

He explained his position on this procedure to a colleague in more detail. In a letter dated September 21, he recorded Schweinsberger's remarks as follows:

"[...] he feels that he is not bound by his oath as a civil servant, but also by a party oath, and if he were overruled by his assessors at the hearing, he would report the judgment that he thought violated National Socialism through official channels to the Reichsführer SS . [...] With this he expressed that he would prevent a hearing in the sense of the indictment to be brought and a related judgment with all possible means. "

Threat against the commanding general

If he were used as a negotiator against wisdom and he was convicted of murder, he threatened to lodge a complaint against the commanding General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg personally with Heinrich Himmler . In a letter to the Supreme War Judge Rittnau of the 1st Panzer Army on October 1, 1942, Schweinsberger clarified this plan:

"In my opinion, the judge must [...] be allowed to report to the Reichsführer SS on a matter of combating and destroying Judaism on the official channels, as intended by the Führer, that an arrest warrant had been issued against a National Socialist, among other things, for seventy-five murder of Jews and accordingly also indictment is intended ”.

Schweinsberger managed to avoid being used as a judge in the trial against wisdom. In his place was Judge Dittmann. The head of the negotiation was Major Stabel, the prosecution represented Colonel War Judge Rittnau. After this case, Schweinsberger was promoted to senior war judge in 1942. In 1944 he was appointed corps judge.

After the war

Schweinsberger was able to return to the state judicial service after the end of the war and worked as a senior public prosecutor in Frankfurt am Main at the end of the 1950s . In December 1958 he was suspended because his role in the Against Wisdom Court was revealed. On January 8, 1959, the daily newspaper Die Welt reported that Schweinsberger had been arrested for anti-Semitic statements and a discriminatory act against Jews.

Individual evidence

  1. K. Schaumlöffel, The student corps Marburg in Thuringia. A war diary in peacetime, written and compiled by the sergeant major of the student corps. Marburg 1920.
  2. All personal data come from his dissertation, which was printed in 1929.
  4. ^ Committee for German Unity, Wir klagen an !, Berlin 1959, p. 149.
  5. ^ Committee for German Unity, ibid, p. 150.
  6. ^ Committee for German Unity, ibid, pp. 150–151.
  7. ^ Committee for German Unity, ibid, p. 151.
  8. Manfred Messerschmidt, Die Wehrmachtjustiz 1933 - 1945, Munich 2005, pp. 290–291.
  9. Ilse Staff, Justiz im Third Reich, Frankfurt / Main, 1978, p. 213 - The text of the judgment is documented in this source.
  10. American Jewish Year Book Volume 61 (1960) (pdf; 415 kB) p. 234.
  11. ^ Die Welt, January 8, 1959, in: Tete Harens Tetens, The new Germany and the old Nazis, London 1962, p. 143.