Chapter

‘To Fight The Class Struggle With The Bourgeois Courts With All Acridity’: the Communist Party Legal Organization

Grunwald Henning

in Courtroom to Revolutionary Stage

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609048
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744280 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609048.003.0004
‘To Fight The Class Struggle With The Bourgeois Courts With All Acridity’: the Communist Party Legal Organization

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The chapter is a history of the Communist Party legal organization, which funded, administered, and publicized tens of thousands of political trials. Despite their professions of ideological discipline, harnessing the often volatile, headstrong and individualistic party lawyers to a coherent political strategy proved tricky. The Communist Party pioneered the standardization of legal aid and the propagandistic exploitation of trials by ingeniously combining both in one in-house law office. The highly innovative KPD party legal organization grew rapidly and enjoyed a high visibility both within the party and outside it. Matching lawyers and cases, it used legal aid to monitor trials and disseminate the party's message, discipline defendants, and build up selected cases into high-profile publicity campaigns. The celebrated trial and rehabilitation campaign of Max Hölz, the ‘Communist Robin Hood’, is the main case study.

Keywords: Communist Party Central Legal Office; Red Aid; legal aid; political trials; Max Hölz; Ernst Hegewisch; Felix Halle

Chapter.  21837 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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