Judicial Proceedings before the National-Security Tribunal of Nazi Germany, April 1943
Presiding Judge: This National Security Tribunal is now in session. The tribunal calls the case of The German National Socialist State vs. Dietrich Schmoller. The defendant will rise and enter his plea before the tribunal.
Dietrich Schmoller: I plead Not Guilty.
Presiding Judge: (screaming) What do you mean, “Not Guilty”? The facts are crystal clear and undisputed! You disclosed to a journalist for a foreign newspaper what we were doing to inmates inside the Auschwitz concentration camp. As a camp guard at Auschwitz, you took a solemn oath to the German state to keep what we doing inside that concentration camp secret. You knew full well that everything we were doing inside that camp was classified “Top Secret.” You knew that German law required you to keep such matters secret. You are guilty, guilty, guilty!
Dietrich Schmoller: You are wrong. It is not I who is guilty, it is you and the rest of your ilk who are keeping those camps in existence and killing people inside them. Your oaths and your laws violate God’s laws, natural law, and the fundamental laws of decency, morality, and humanity. I reject your oaths and laws and proudly violate them. For me, they are null and void. I choose to follow the laws of my God and the laws of nature, morality, and decency.
Presiding Judge: (screaming) You are guilty of terrorism and treason! You could have worked within the system. You could have reported your complaints to your immediate superior within the camp, who would have taken them to his superior, who would have taken them to the warden. Ultimately, your complaint would have reached the Fuhrer, who would have given it his careful consideration. That’s the way things operate within the Nazi state. You went outside the chain of command. You went to the foreign press. You violated your oath and the law. You have embarrassed the German National Socialist State. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Dietrich Schmoller: No, it is you and the rest of your cohorts who should be ashamed of yourselves. A system that is secretly engaged in grave wrongdoing is not a system that I wish to work within. I wish to expose it to the German people and to the people of the world, in the hopes of dismantling it and replacing it with a system based on freedom, decency, and morality. How can citizens bring an evil and immoral system to an end if they don’t even know about it? When people discover what’s happening, they can at least make a choice between your evil system and their conscience.
Presiding Judge: You are a bad German and it is obvious that you hate Germany. Your parents did a bad job in raising you.
Dietrich Schmoller: No, it is you and your comrades who hate Germany and who have betrayed our nation’s culture, laws, tradition, and heritage. It is I who love Germany and hate what the German National Socialist State has done to my country and what it is doing to those innocent people inside the Auschwitz concentration camp. My parents taught me to be an independent thinker, to place God above all else, and to never defer to the authority of the state when it enacts laws and oaths that violate the laws of God and the principles of freedom.
Presiding Judge: (screaming) Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Guards, gag the defendant! We should not have to hear such garbage even a minute longer. And keep the doors closed to the public. National security dictates that these proceedings be kept secret.
German Journalist: Your honor, may I address the tribunal?
Presiding Judge: You may.
German Journalist: Your honor, I represent the journalists and the newspapers of the German independent mainstream press. Let me first tell you what an honor it is for me to be here today for these proceedings. We are so pleased that this terrorist and traitor has been brought to justice. On behalf of the independent mainstream press of Germany, I would also like to commend you on the fairness of these proceedings. Finally, I want you to know that we will continue to protect the Nazi state’s secrets from disclosure, except for those secrets that the state wants us to disclose to the citizenry. Unlike the defendant, we are loyal, patriotic German citizens who trust in the judgment of the state, defer to its authority, and support whatever it deems necessary for the security of the nation.
Presiding Judge: Thank you for your kind words and please express my personal gratitude to the loyal journalists who work for the German independent mainstream press. Does the prosecution have anything to say before I announce our verdict and impose sentence?
Prosecutor: Yes, your honor. It was our initial feeling that the defendant should be sent to the Nazi State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. It is clear from his conduct that this man is absolutely crazy. I just don’t know how such a thing happens, especially in our great country, where every child is required to submit to the state’s educational regimen for 12 long years. However, the prosecution believes that it is vitally important that this tribunal and the German state send a powerful message to all other people who are working inside the concentration camps, not only at Auschwitz but also at Buchenwald, Dachau, and elsewhere. The last thing the fatherland needs is to have other state employees following their conscience and disclosing what we are doing inside the camps for the security of the nation. They need to know that if they do what Dietrich Schmoller has done, the same thing that happened to him will happen to them. We need to ensure that everyone continues to be a good German citizen, one who does his duty and keeps his mouth shut.
Presiding Judge: Thank you for your service, Herr Prosecutor. The nation is in your debt. You are a patriot and a good German citizen.
Prosecutor: Thank you, your honor. It is an honor to serve the Nazi state and to serve before your tribunal. And thank you for not messing up these proceedings by permitting some idiotic defense attorney to represent the defendant, especially since he is guilty anyway.
Presiding Judge: The defendant will rise to receive the verdict and sentence of the tribunal. Dietrich Schmoller, this tribunal finds you guilty of terrorism and treason. You are hereby sentenced to die by guillotine. Since you are clearly guilty, no appeal will be permitted. The sentence will be carried out immediately.
Dietrich Schmoller: (muffled voice) Long live freedom! Long live Germany! May your evil system be brought to a hasty end. You will be judged by history and by God.
Presiding Judge: Take the defendant away for execution of sentence. This tribunal is now adjourned. Heil Hitler!
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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