Understanding how Jewish lawyers lived and worked in the Third Reich


The Law Library Association of St. Louis, along with ADL Heartland and the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, will be presenting a virtual lecture in conjunction with the acclaimed ABA Travelling Exhibit, “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich.” This exhibit is currently housed at the Law Library Association of St. Louis, located at 10 N. Tucker Blvd, 13th Floor, St. Louis (in the Civil Courts Building) but will be closing on Monday Nov. 15.

The lecture is titled “Discrimination, Degradation, Defiance: Jewish Lawyers in Nazi Germany,” and will take place on Tuesday Nov. 9, Kristallnacht, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Until 1933, Jewish lawyers were among the most prominent in the profession.  But the Nazi regime immediately tried to kick them out and, after five-and-a-half years, completed its efforts.  This talk tells that story.  With harrowing details, it shows how the Nazis got rid of Jewish lawyers through lawless violence and legalized discrimination; how Jewish lawyers tried to hold on but eventually suffered economic devastation and social humiliation; and how a small number actively resisted.  Ultimately, the story is about a liberal democracy collapsing under the weight of an authoritarian state.

The speaker for this event is Douglas Morris. He is a legal historian and practicing criminal defense attorney with Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. His latest book is “Legal Sabotage: Ernst Fraenkel in Hitler’s Germany” (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which explores the way a Jewish Social Democratic lawyer in Nazi Germany represented political defendants in court, engaged in underground activities and produced both a classic analysis of the Nazi regime and an original theory of resistance.

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The program also qualifies for 1.2 Missouri Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) diversity/equity/implicit bias credit for attorneys. More details about the program and how to register are at https://llastl.org/index.php/Morris-11-21

The “Lawyers Without Rights” exhibit is open for individual visitors and groups of up to 25 people. Reservations are not required but are recommended for groups. To make your reservation, contact Law Library Association of St. Louis Library Director Gail Wechsler at [email protected] or 314-622-4470.  More information also can be found at https://llastl.org/events-exhibits.