Skip to content

Hans Ulrich Jessurun d’Oliveira

Hans Ulrich Jessurun d’Oliveira specializes in private international law, nationality law and immigration rights. Professor Emeritus from the University of Amsterdam and the European University Institute in Florence. He has several hundred academic publications to his name, has edited a number of literary journals (Propria Cures, Tirade and Merlyn) and, between 1975 and 2003, he was editor of the Dutch weekly periodical for the legal profession, the Nederlands Juristedblad. He frequently publishes opinion columns and editorials
in the daily and weekly dutch press.

Damnatio Memoriae and Iconoclasm: new ideologies and overturning existing legal orders

After spending a few paragraphs on damnatio memoriae (street names in Breslau/Wrocław and in Amsterdam) I intend, being a lawyer, to focus on revolutionary changes in existing legal orders by new state powers with strongly different views on society and State. I will take as example the dramatic changes in the legal order of the Weimar Republic by the NSDAP. I describe the instruments, both in terms of personnel and organisation for the introduction of nazi lore. In some detail, central elements of the legal perversions are highlighted: unbegrenzte Auslegung in civil law, (racial elements introduced) and in criminal law the abolition of the prohibition on analogous interpretation of the Criminal Code.

Then I intend to spend a paragraph on the aftermatch, the not so new start of the Bundesrepublik. Are there remnants of the overthrown legal system and its organisational structures? Furthermore mention is made of similar revolutionary inroads into an existing legal order: examples could be Poland, but also the sudden change in the former Eastern block states after 1989. Are there similar structural developments? Are there sediments of the previous regime?

Key words: legal order, legal systems, legal perversions, Eastern Europe, Germany