An exhibition that portrays the German Federal Ministry of Justice in the shadow of the Nazi past was opened at the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University on February 20, 2023, in the presence of Dr. Marco Buschmann, German Federal Minister of Justice. Greetings were given by Prof. Yishai Blank, Dean Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Yoram Danziger, Justice (ret.) of the Supreme Court of Israel. The introductory lecture was delivered by Prof. Roni Stauber, Director of the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University.
In 2012, the Ministry tasked an Independent Academic Commission with investigating the Ministry’s national-socialist past during the early years of the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany. The Commission was given unrestricted access to the Ministry‘s files. In 2016-17, the commission published its concluding report in a book entitled “The Rosenburg Files” - so named because following World War II, the Ministry’s offices were located in the Rosenburg Castle in Bonn. The report generated considerable interest among the German general public and was widely covered in the media.
The report cast a dark shadow on the first decades of the history of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Numerous members of the Ministry‘s executive staff had been involved in the power apparatus of the Third Reich. Of the 170 lawyers who held senior positions in the Ministry between 1949 and 1973, 90 had been members of the Nazi Party and 34 had been members of the SA. This had far-reaching consequences with regard to the Federal Republic’s dealing with the aftermath of Nazism. Nazi laws were corrected only in a superficial manner, there was ongoing discrimination against former victims and the prosecution of Nazi criminals was thwarted. Yet today, the German Federal Ministry of Justice is facing up to its history. In February 2017, these findings were presented at a presentation at Tel Aviv University by an official delegation of scholars and politicians.
This concluding report did not mark the end of the Rosenburg Project. The results were made available to a wider audience with an illuminating and memorable travelling exhibition, which seeks to raise awareness among a large audience of the historical injustice that took place post-World War II at the hands of the Ministry itself. The exhibition is a part of the effort by the German Federal Ministry of Justice to address its Nazi past. It shines light on what was previously in the shadows. It had been displayed in Germany, Poland and the USA and is now being displayed for the first time in Israel.
The exhibition was coordinated by the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University. It is on display at the Buchmann Faculty of Law & the David J. Light Law Library at Tel Aviv University, Trubowicz Building from February 20th, 2023 through May 14th, 2023.