Remer process

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The Remer trial was a trial before the Third Large Criminal Chamber of the Braunschweig Regional Court in March 1952 against former Major General Otto Ernst Remer for defamation and disparagement of the memory of deceased . It attracted a great deal of attention in West Germany because it posthumously rehabilitated the resistance fighters of July 20, 1944 . The widow of the assassin Claus Graf Stauffenberg z. B. had been refused the officer's widow's pension by the Federal Republic up until this trial . Remer was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. The convicted Remer escaped punishment by fleeing abroad.


On July 20, 1944, Major Otto Ernst Remer, as commander of the Berlin Guard Battalion, was commissioned by the Berlin city ​​commandant General Paul von Hase , a co-conspirator, to arrest Joseph Goebbels . Through a telephone connection arranged by Goebbels with Adolf Hitler at the Fuehrer's headquarters in Wolfsschanze in East Prussia , Remer was able to convince himself that the "Fuehrer" was still alive and received instructions from Hitler by telephone to put down the putsch. During this telephone conversation he was promoted to colonel by Hitler. In the months leading up to the end of the war, he became a major general .

In 1950 Remer was one of the founders of the Socialist Reich Party . At a party event in May 1951 he described the assassins of July 20, 1944 as traitors who had been hired from abroad and whose survivors would soon be brought to justice by a German court for this betrayal. In June 1951, Federal Interior Minister Robert Lehr , who had been a confidante of Carl Friedrich Goerdeler , filed a criminal complaint against Remer for defamation . At the Brunswick public prosecutor's office, the responsible senior public prosecutor, Erich Günther Topf , once a member of the NSDAP and SA Rottenführer , initially refused to accept the complaint. You have "no prospect of certain success". The senior public prosecutor Fritz Bauer intervened, tried to convince Topf, finally gave him instructions - and arranged for Topf to be transferred to Lüneburg. Fritz Bauer himself represented the indictment against Remer for defamation in unity with disparagement of the memory of the deceased.

When Anna von Harnack, sister of the murdered resistance fighter Ernst von Harnack , also filed a criminal complaint against Remer in December 1951, Bauer successfully asked the relatives of murdered members of the Rote Kapelle resistance group to withdraw them because he did not want to make their right to resist the subject of the proceedings.

The process

This trial, which took place in March 1952, attracted great public attention and, according to the lawyer Rudolf Wassermann, was the "most important trial with a political background since the Nuremberg war crimes trials and before the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial ". Bauer deliberately intended it as a political signal. “The accused was the Nazi regime. By demanding the respect they deserve for the resistance fighters of July 20, Bauer forced the court to reject the Nazi regime as an injustice state . ”This trial was about a final rebuttal of the allegations of high treason and the breach of the oath that the Resistance fighters of July 20, 1944 just met from the military side. This process only touched upon the allegation of treason in connection with the question of the establishment of contact between the resistance fighters of July 20 and abroad in the run-up to the planned coup. The case of the actual disclosure of military secrets to the Allies , as practiced by Major General Oster , was not explicitly mentioned in the reports; one could understand some formulation as an implicit condemnation of these actions.

Four reports supported the indictment: two Protestant theology professors ( Künneth and Iwand ), a Catholic moral theologian ( Angermair ) and a former general (retired General Friebe ). Everyone came to the unanimous conclusion that the resistance fighters of July 20 were not traitors, but, on the contrary , had acted for the good of Germany .

“The criminal chamber is of the opinion that the National Socialist state was not a constitutional state, but an injustice state that did not serve the well-being of the German people. The question of the constitutionality of the Nazi state does not need to be dealt with in more detail here. Everything that the German people had to endure, starting with the fire in the Reichstag on June 30, 1934 and November 9, 1938, was a blatant injustice that had to be eliminated. "

- Judgment of the Braunschweig Regional Court in March 1952

After a week's trial, Remer was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. In the grounds of the judgment, which followed the expert opinion in all essential points, the assassins of July 20 were expressly acquitted of suspicion of treason and high treason:

"However, based on the results of the evidence, none of these men rests even the shadow of suspicion of ever having been paid from abroad for any act related to the resistance struggle."
Rather, the resistance fighters had "consistently out of ardent patriotism and selflessness, strives for the elimination of Hitler and thus of the regime he is leading up to the careless self-sacrifice of a sense of responsibility towards their people . "

This judgment, which was carried out into the country by the enormous presence of the media, ensured “that the one-week [...] 'Remer Trial' became a public lesson, indeed a normative act, the decisive basis for anchoring the 20th July 1944 in the historical consciousness of the Federal Republic created ”. The process was undeniably reflected in public opinion on the subject of “20. July “. In an opinion poll half a year before the trial, only 38% of those questioned said they approved of the act of July 20, whereas 24% were negative and 38% were undecided. Three quarters of a year after the trial, however, 58% of those questioned stated that the attackers were not traitors in their eyes. Only around 7% responded positively to this question, while the allegation of treason was particularly strong among young people under the age of 21 with 16%.


  • Fritz Bauer : A border has tyrannical power. Plea in the Remer Trial (1952) . In: Ders .: The humanity of the legal order. Selected writings , edited by Joachim Perels and Irmtrud Wojak . Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-593-35841-7 , pp. 169-179.
  • Claudia Fröhlich: “Against the tabooing of disobedience”. Fritz Bauer's concept of resistance and the coming to terms with Nazi crimes. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-593-37874-4 .
  • Claudia Fröhlich: The Braunschweiger Remer Trial 1952. To deal with the resistance against the Nazi state in the early Federal Republic . In: Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (Ed.) Schuldig. Nazi crimes before German courts (= contributions to the history of National Socialist persecution in Northern Germany, issue 9). Edition Temmen, Bremen 2005, ISBN 3-86108-081-8 , pp. 17–28 ( full text ) (PDF; 973 kB)
  • Nils Kleine: The historical-political place of July 20, 1944 in the early phase of the Federal Republic of Germany. Case study of the Remer process . In: Ders., Christoph Studt (Hrsg.): “The legacy is still in effect, the obligation has not yet been redeemed.” The resistance against the “Third Reich” in public and research since 1945 (= series of publications of the research community July 20, 1944 , Volume 19). Wißner-Verlag, Augsburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-95786-068-2 , pp. 41-54.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b The lawyer for resistance , daily newspaper (taz) , local section north of August 29, 2012, accessed on August 29, 2012.
  2. Claudia Fröhlich: "Against the tabooing of disobedience": Fritz Bauer's concept of resistance and the reappraisal of Nazi crimes. Campus Verlag 2006, ISBN 3593378744 , p. 64.
  3. ^ R. Wassermann: On the legal evaluation of July 20, 1944. The Remer trial in Braunschweig as a milestone in the history of justice , in: Law and Politics (1984,2), p. 78.
  4. ^ R. Wassermann: On the legal assessment of July 20, 1944. The Remer trial in Braunschweig as a milestone in the history of justice , in: Law and Politics (1984, 2), p. 77.
  5. So it says in the 'Catholic' report: “If there are other men besides the staunch resistance fighters who in reality practiced formal betrayal, they cannot invoke our moral theological views in order to retrospectively agree with the men of July 20th identify. ”Angermair, Rupert: May a tyrant be killed? Expert opinion in the Remer trial , in: July 20, 1944, ed. from the Federal Center for Homeland Service, edit. by Hans Royce, Bonn 1960, p. 277.
  6. Tobias Baur: The unloved legacy . Frankfurt a. M. 2007, pp. 88-96.
  7. quoted from: Lenz, Friedrich (1953): The ekle worm of German discord: political problem around July 20, 1944. Self-published
  8. LG Braunschweig, judgment of 15.03.1952 - 1 K Ms 13/51 = openJur 2019, 28125
  9. ^ Judgment printed in Herbert Kraus (ed.): The moral theological and historical reports and judgment submitted in the Braunschweig Remer trial . Hamburg 1953, pp. 105-136, here pp. 121 and 128.
  10. Norbert Frei : memory struggle. On the legitimation problem of July 20, 1944 in post-war Germany . In: trade union monthly books (1995, 11), 664–676, here p. 673.
  11. Report No. 114, 5 Dec 1951 . In: Anna u. Richard Merrit (Ed.): Public Opinion in semisovereign Germany. The HICOG Surveys, 1949-1955 . Urbana 1980, p. 147.
  12. Report No. 167, 12 Jan 1953 . In: Anna and Richard Merrit (eds.): Public Opinion in semisovereign Germany. The HICOG Surveys, 1949-1955 . Urbana 1980, p. 198.