Fritz Bauers Legacy - Justice has no expiration

Probably for the very last time former SS-guards John Demjanjuk, Johann R. and Bruno Dey stood trial in different court cases for their role in German concentration camps during the Second World War. Co-plaintiffs at these trials were also of high age and came from all over the world to testify against these men who had been accessory to murder and therefore part of the industrialized mass murder machine. It took Germany’s justice system more than half a century to find legal instruments to ultimately address its countless unpunished Nazi crimes. Meanwhile many people who had also played part in the killing machine of Nazi Germany had escaped prosecution.
In 1946 the Nuremberg trials had been effective in prosecuting prominent members of the political, military, judicial, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany and more trials would follow. With the first Auschwitz Trial in 1963, General State Prosecutor and trailblazer Fritz Bauer (1903-1968) aptly indicated that one can and should also prosecute small cogs in the machines of industrialized genocide. However, instead of a flood of litigation, criminal punishment decreased for a lengthy time. Eloquent analyses of prosecutors, lawyers, experts and academics all add pieces to the puzzle of why the legal system was not able to discard the ineffectual ‘single act proof ’principle during these years and what factors in the end contributed to adopting more effective legal instruments for convictions. Stirring and moving first hand witness accounts of the Stutthof concentration camp survivors provide a deeply human touch to the film.
FRITZ BAUER’S LEGACY not only reveals a complex fascinating history of why it took so long for justice to find its way into German courts but it also effectively illustrates its significance for a future without stately organized mass murders and flagrant injustices.

HessenFilm, FilmFernsehfonds Bayern (FFF), Deutscher Filmförderfonds (DFFF), Claims Conference.


Ein Film von
Sabine Lamby, Cornelia Partmann, Isabel Gathof
Jens Schanze
Nic Mussell
Original Ton
Tobias Schinko
Martin Hoffmann
Matthias Vogt
Grafisches Konzept
Marco Sönke
Feinshmeker Film