After the war, Hitler, Himmler and more than twenty high-ranking Nazis tried in Nuremburg were held responsible for committing crimes against humanity during the Second World War. But these barbarous acts were, at the time, completely legal under German law.
How was Hitler able to set up such an extraordinary system of repression that was, to all intents and purposes, actually lawful? And what role did jurists play in this reinterpretation of the law that permitted such exterminations?
Through the fate of three emblematic characters - a jurist, an executioner and an opponent of the regime - and thanks to archive footage and expert witnesses, this unprecedented historical investigation offers a new reading of the Third Reich. By shedding light on these shadowy areas, it reveals how the law was used by the Nazis to justify the unjustifiable and authorize the most heinous of crimes, and how Germany’s highest intellectual caste was responsible for establishing a murderous totalitarian system.
Direction: Jean-Marie Barrère
Production: ZED for ARTE France
Delivery: January 2023
Photo: © Wikimedias