Albert Battel – The Nazi Lawyer Who Said No (#32)

People have debated and wondered, and theorized why there was never one Nazi officer who ever stood up to the SS in public, and at the risk of their own life, said: “no” to the Holocaust. ~ Christine Duhaime in The true crime story of a Nazi lawyer who defied the SS to save Polish Jews from an extermination camp

Christine Duhaime (@cduhaime) is an expert in financial crime and a certified anti-money laundering specialist. She is a frequent speaker and advisor serving international clients, governments, investigators and law enforcement.

Christine is also an author. In addition to numerous legal articles, briefs, chapters on the law and legal text books, she wrote an illuminating article about a German lawyer who died in 1952. The lawyer’s name was Dr. Albert Battel.

Dr. Battel was no ordinary lawyer. A veteran of World War I, he also served as a lieutenant in the German Wehrmacht in World War II. He was also a member of the Nazi party.

On July 26, 1942, Dr. Battel blocked a bridge in Poland to prevent the Schutzstaffel (SS) from reaching a ghetto filled with Jewish people the SS intended to forcibly remove to the Belzec extermination camp. According to the US Holocaust Museum website:

The SS (Schutzstaffel, or Protection Squads) was originally established as Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard unit. It would later become both the elite guard of the Nazi Reich and Hitler’s executive force prepared to carry out all security-related duties, without regard for legal restraint.

These duties came to include the mass murder of civilians and the genocidal murder of millions of Jews.

Christine Duhaime’s article The true crime story of a Nazi lawyer who defied the SS to save Polish Jews from an extermination camp recounts the moment in World War II that saw Dr. Battel openly defy the SS. Christine’s article provides other references to actions where Battel broke laws and took other risks to do what was right.

This episode features Christine’s article along with some of my added commentary for context. It is journey to a place and a time where a man with a complicated identity broke his country’s laws, disregarded his professional obligations and put his life at risk to choose ethics over evil.  

Topics Covered

  1. Legal history
  2. Comparative legal systems
  3. Military law
  4. The Holocaust
  5. War crimes trials
  6. Professional responsibility
  7. Ethics

Listen to “32 Albert Battel – The Nazi Lawyer Who Said No” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here.

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 1 hour of CPD credits (ethics).

Are you a member of a law society outside BC? Try here.

1:29:30 Influences on the objectivity or opinions of expert witnesses using scientific approaches1:32:30 The Lindsay Lab

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