In 2012, the German Federal Ministry of Justice tasked an independent academic commission with investigating the Ministry’s national-socialist past during the early years of the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany. The commission was given unrestricted access to the Ministry‘s files. In 2016/17, the commission published its concluding report in a book titled “The Rosenburg Files” (following World War II the Ministry’s offices were in the Rosenburg Castle in Bonn), which generated considerable interest among the German public and was widely covered in the media.
The results were also made available to a wider audience through an illuminating and memorable travelling exhibition, now being displayed for the first time in Israel.
Ministry of Justice Faces Up to its Past
The findings of the report cast a dark shadow on the first decades in the history of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Numerous members of the Ministry‘s executive staff had been involved in the power apparatus of the “Third Reich”: Of the 170 lawyers who held senior positions in the Ministry between 1949-1973, 90 had been members of the Nazi Party and 34 of the SA [short for ‘Sturmabteilung’ in German, the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party). This had far-reaching consequences with regard to the Federal Republic’s dealing with the aftermath of Nazism: Nazi laws were corrected only in a superficial manner, there was ongoing discrimination against former victims, and the prosecution of Nazi criminals was thwarted.
From the Rosenburg Exhibition at Tel Aviv University
Today, the German Federal Ministry of Justice is facing up to its history: The report from 2016/17 did not mark the end of the Rosenburg Project – the results have since been made available to a wider audience with an illuminating and memorable travelling exhibition, which seeks to raise awareness among a large audience of the historical injustice that took place post World War II at the hands of the Ministry itself. The exhibition, which seeks to shine light on what was previously in the shadows, has already been displayed in Germany, Poland and the USA and is now being displayed for the first time in Israel, coordinated by Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University.
The exhibition opening for “The Rosenburg – The Federal Ministry of Justice in the Shadow of the Nazi Past” took place at The Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University on February 20, 2023, in the presence of Dr. Marco Buschmann, German Federal Minister of Justice. Greetings were held by Prof. Yishai Blank, Dean, Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Yoram Danziger, Justice (ret.) of the Supreme Court of Israel. The introductory lecture was held by Prof. Roni Stauber, Director of the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University.
Visit the Exhibition
Visit the exhibition at the University’s Buchmann Faculty of Law & the David J. Light Law Library in the Trubowicz Building from February 20th, 2023 through May 14th, 2023.