Advokaten 1938: Fate of Lawyers, Trainees Registered with Austrian Regional Bar Ass’ns Barred from Practice Of Law from 1938 to 1945: Austrian Cultural Forum Book Presentation

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“Advokaten 1938: The fate of the lawyers and trainees registered with the Austrian Regional Bar Associations who were barred from practicing in the legal profession from 1938 to 1945″

Editor’s note: As we have previously covered in a review of How Could This Happen, there were so many different injustices done in Germany and the countries they conquered during World War II to those of Jewish descent that it is difficult to catalog them all. 

This book attempts to explain one corner of the Holocaust, namely the stories of the lawyers whose professional lives were ruined when the Nazi party rose to power and made Jews second-class citizens, with no right to property, money, livelihood, banking, or any of the other social rights their non-Jewish counterparts were entitled to.  This created an underclass, often used as slave labor, causing the Third Reich to profit and carry on its war machine plans by running on slavery.  This is neither a novel idea nor a brilliant one, but it is simple economics. If the government doesn’t have to pay for labor, they can keep the costs of production way down, as in most ventures, labor is the highest cost.  

On March 7, 2024, at 7 pm, the 2nd edition of the aforementioned book will be presented at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

This event is organized in cooperation with the “Association of Research of the Professional History of the Members of the Austrian Bar Association which were Discredited Between 1938 and 1945 – Advokaten 1938”.


 

The downfall of Austria as an independent state and its annexation to the German Reich in 1938 implied for many lawyers the end of their career.

On March 13, 1938, 2,605 lawyers were registered in the list of the Austrian Bar Association in Vienna. By the end of that year, only 771 of them remained.

On the basis of the regulation of March 31, 1938[1], it became possible to ban Jewish lawyers and solicitors from the exercise of their profession, depriving them of their livelihoods.

As of September 1938, also “half-breed Jews” had to be deregistered from the list of the Austrian Bar. The dimension of the terror and injustice linked with these grueling developments are brought to light with this new and comprehensive compendium that serves as a memorial book as well as a critical analysis.

The “Association of Research of the Professional History of the Members of the Austrian Bar Association which were Discredited Between 1938 and 1945” has been founded by all the regional Chambers of Lawyers of Austria including the ÖRAK (Österreichischer Rechtsanwaltskammertag), and has the duty to investigate the professional fates of lawyers’ existences lost between 1938 and 1945.

What is the story of these colleagues, what was their personal history as lawyers, how did their lives develop?

These and other questions will be explored in the course of this event, which aims at thoroughly revisiting this part of the history of the Austrian lawyers.

The book “Advokaten 1938” was published by the Association in November 2010. Since then, more archives and their digitalization have enabled them to continue their research and to document the personal and professional history of about 400 colleagues whose lives could not be documented sufficiently well in the 1st edition of the book.

Moreover, the new edition includes the documentation of the professional lives of all lawyers in training (“articled clerks”: had to pass a mandatory traineeship in order to become admitted to practice).

The results of this recent research were published in a 2nd edition of the book “Advokaten 1938” in English language.

This 2nd edition includes further information about Nazi propaganda specifically concentrated on the legal profession of lawyers in various propaganda newspapers with a lime light on propaganda displayed in “Völkischer Beobachter”.

Banner Image: Advokaten 1938 cover. Image Credit – Manz bookshop



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Austrian Cultural Forum

Bringing contemporary Austrian art, literature, music & culture to NYC and beyond. Our gallery is open daily 10am - 6pm.