This video is called Fritz Bauer – Death By Instalments – Tod auf Raten – A film by Ilona Ziok.
By Bernd Reinhardt in Germany:
60th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 6
17 March 2010
The documentary, Fritz Bauer—Tod auf Raten (Fritz Bauer—Death by Instalments), directed by Ilona Ziok, celebrates the German jurist and prosecutor Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), who now—unjustly—is almost forgotten. His name is missing, for example, from Manfred Görtemaker’s History of the Federal Republic.
Fritz Bauer was a Jew and a Social Democrat, who endured time in concentration camps and in exile under the Nazi regime. From 1956 Bauer was the Hesse state attorney general in Frankfurt and one of the few prominent lawyers who had not had a career in the Third Reich.
After the Second World War, most of the former fascist officials, including those in the judiciary, showed no sense of guilt about the Nazi crimes, claiming they had only been following orders and serving the state, i.e., Hitler. In the new West Germany, former SS officers stubbornly, and in many cases, successfully, insisted on reinstatement or the payment of their pensions.
For his part, Bauer fought for the general right to resist the crimes of the state. For him, it was not only the military opposition of July 20, 1944, (when elements in the army and intelligence attempted and failed to assassinate Hitler) that was laudable, but also the Communist Party-led resistance. Bauer instigated the famous Frankfurt Auschwitz trial (1963-1965), and was preparing a lawsuit against the legal perpetrators of euthanasia, when he died in 1968 under mysterious circumstances.
With the help of historical archive material, including a meeting of lawyers and students in 1964, and interviews with eyewitnesses, the film succeeds in presenting Bauer as an honest and principled opponent of the Nazi judicial swamp that dominated West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. This filthy crowd displayed brazen self-assurance in the face of any attempt to hold them accountable for their crimes under the Hitler regime.
We learn that Bauer secretly supplied Israeli intelligence with information that led to the arrest of Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1961. Bauer was certain that an official extradition request would have meant Eichmann being immediately alerted by officials from the relevant German authorities.
The film shows how former Nazi judges exhibited an unparalleled cynicism toward the victims of the Hitler regime, their former enemies.