Decree against Public Enemies of September 5, 1939
(Translated from Reichsgesetzblatt I, 1939, p. 1679.)
The Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich decrees with the force of law:
1. Plunder in Evacuated Areas
1. Who plunders in evacuated areas or in voluntarily evacuated buildings or rooms will be punished with death.
2. The decision will be made, insofar as the Summary Military Courts do not have jurisdiction, by the Special Courts.
3. The death penalty can be carried out by hanging.
2. Crimes during Air Raids
Who commits a crime against the body, life, or property of a person using measures enacted in the defense against air raids in furtherance of the crime will be punished with penitentiary up to 15 years or with life in penitentiary and, in especially grievous cases, with death.
3. Crimes Endangering the Community
Who commits arson or other crimes endangering the community and thereby damages the ability of the German people to engage in national defense will be punished with death.
4. Use of Conditions of War as Grounds to Increase Criminal Penalties
Anyone who commits a crime using the special circumstances induced by the condition of war will be punished, overstepping the normal legal penalties, with penitentiary of up to 15 years, with life in prison, or with death in accordance with the requirements of sound popular judgment [gesundes Volksempfinden] or the need to especially repudiate the criminal act.
5. Simplification of the Procedure Used in the Special Court
In all proceedings before the Special Court the sentence must be carried out immediately, without respect to the usual time limits, in cases where the perpetrator was caught in the act or where guilt is otherwise readily apparent.
6. Areas of Jurisdiction
The provisions of this ordinance apply in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and also to persons who do not hold German citizenship.
7. Final Provisions
The Reich Minister of Justice will decree all the legal and administrative measures required for the implementation of this ordinance.
Berlin, September 5, 1939
Chairman of the Ministerial Council for Reich Defense: Göring, General Field Marshal
General Commissioner for the Administration of the Reich: Frick
Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery: Dr. Lammers