“Magisterial, [but Diemut Majer’s book] is more than that.... A unique historical compilation and analysis of a very singular period of human history.... As a former Prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, who had been in charge of essential evidence from the German archives...I recognize...how rare and valuable her contribution [is].... Unfortunately, even those who now seek to specialize in the study of the Holocaust are often unfamiliar with the German language.... I know of no publication in any language that treats of the subject with such detail, accuracy and perception. Coming from a reliable German source it is particularly credible and valuable to English readers. The subject of the book is, unfortunately, still relevant to events taking place today.”
— Benjamin B. Ferencz, Chief U.S. Prosecutor, Einsatzgruppen case, Nuremberg
Under the legal and administrative system of Nazi Germany, people categorized as Fremdvölkische literally, “foreign people”) were subject to special laws that restricted their rights, limited their protection under the law, and exposed them to extraordinary legal sanctions and brutal, extralegal police actions. These special laws, one of the central constitutional principles of the Third Reich, applied to Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, non-Europeans: anyone perceived as different or racially inferior, whether German citizens or not.
In “Non-Germans” under the Third Reich, legal scholar Diemut Majer traces the establishment and evolution of these laws from the beginnings of the Third Reich through the administration of annexed and occupied eastern territories during the war. Drawing extensively on German archival sources as well as on previously unexplored material from Poland and elsewhere in eastern Europe, Majer shows with chilling detail how the National Socialist government maintained a superficial legal continuity with the Weimar Republic while expanding the legal definition of Fremdvölkische, to ultimately give itself legal sanction for the actions undertaken in the Holocaust. Replete with revealing quotations from secret decrees, instructions, orders, and reports, this major work of scholarship offers a sobering assessment of the theory and practice of law in Nazi Germany.
“An exhaustive analysis of the numerous legal and executive provisions and practices applicable to ‘Fremdvölkische.’ I consider it the only scholarly work of this nature that addresses all of the people concerned and the treatment they received from the Nazi authorities, and have relied heavily on it myself.”
— Walter O. Weyrauch, University of Florida
“From Reviews of the German Edition:
There has not been such a comprehensive presentation of the Third Reich’s legal system before, and it will be a long time before anotherwritten by a single authorappears. Here quantity is transformed into quality. The abundant references and quotations form a mosaic of the National Socialist period; they are also an indispensable aid to future investigators, especially since superbly detailed indices of subjects, place names and persons, along with maps and illustrations, facilitate the practical use of the information they contain.”
“It is to be hoped that discussion of this encyclopedic work will not be limited to jurists and scholars of contemporary history. Some sections should be read and studied in courses on history and politics.”
— Süddeutsche Zeitung
“This work is meant to contribute to the investigation of the National Socialist system of injustice. The author has succeeded brilliantly in doing so.... The most important sections of the book should be made obligatory reading in the training of those who will enter governmental administration and the law.”
— Gemeinsames Ministerialblatt
“Here is a work that is outstanding both in the wealth of materials that went into its making and in its precision of exposition. It is not a collection of regulations, but rather a critique based on the pertinent materials. As sober and honest as could be.”
— Stuttgarter Zeitung
Diemut Majer is a professor of public law, constitutional legal history, and comparative law at the University of Bern and a lecturer in European law at the University of Karlsruhe.