A British lawyer is accusing the German government of violating the country’s constitution by refusing to restore the citizenship of thousands of people descended from victims of the Nazis. He argues that the law began to be misapplied under the lingering influence of former Nazis in the 1950s and 60s, and that it’s still being misapplied today.
James Strauss has lived all his life in New York but in the 1930s his family ran an inn and butcher’s business in the town of Gunzenhausen, south of Nuremburg. It was here that an event known as the Bloody Palm Sunday pogrom took place in March 1934, with the inn at its epicentre. As Nazis rioted in the town, two Jews were murdered and Julius Strauss, James’s father, was beaten unconscious and locked up in the town’s jail.
The pogrom is recognised by historians as one of the worst anti-Semitic incidents in Germany prior to the Kristallnacht attacks in November 1938.
The ringleader, Kurt Baer, a member of a Nazi paramilitary force known as the SA, was tried and jailed – but soon released by a Nazi-sympathising judge.
He then returned to the inn to take revenge, shooting and seriously wounding the 27-year-old Julius and murdering his father Simon. (Baer was later sentenced to life imprisonment, but pardoned after four years.) Read more