2 Following


Currently reading

Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez

Axis Rule In Occupied Europe

Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Foundations of the Laws of War) - Raphael Lemkin, William A. Schabas, Samantha Power Author must have fallen to Earth. This one is contender for Best Book Ever Written by a Human Person.

Comprehensive evaluation of Axis occupation statutes, which means that the domestic statutes of Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania are not presented. Rather, Lemkin outlines the effect of occupation by these states on their European victims up to 1943.

Author is a Polish attorney, who took refuge in the United States and was assisted by the Carnegie Endowment in publishing this study.

First section is a general outline of German policy. This section concludes with the famous essay that coins the term genocide, for which the author will be well known. (He thereafter assisted the US prosecutor for the IMT at Nuremberg, and was in on the ground floor at the UN for the drafting of the genocide convention.)

Second section touches each of the states occupied by the Axis up to 1943, at least what was then known: Albania, Austria, the Baltics, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, Denmark, the English Channel Islands (hadn't known that previously), France, Greece, Luxembourg, Memel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the USSR, and Yugoslavia.

Each occupied state undergoes a similar presentation, to the extent that the policies were known: initial occupation documents, constitutional documents, territorial revisions, administration, courts & lawyers, civil & criminal law, property law, banking & finance, the labor regime, and genocide statutes. This stuff is fantastic. The sections on Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia are the most complicated, as they were carved up into the most bits.

Third section, approximately half of the volume, is again broken out by occupied state, but presents the statutory and regulatory enactments as well as fiat decrees of the occupant. This stuff is beyond fantastic, intrinsic to the understanding of fascism.

Pretty obvious to me that a legion of attorneys marched immediately behind the German army, so thick are the legal innovations. It is no barbarian's chevauchee, but a sophisticated blood-letting, papered over 100% by law. Is it or is it not curious that a great many of the occupation statutes read somewhat familiarly to an attorney who is licensed to practice in one of the United States (i.e., me)?

Anyway, for instance, Dutch law is altered so that the bastards of German troops will be legitimate.

In Alsace-Lorraine, Belgium, and Luxembourg, say, French names for municipalities, streets, and persons are required to be translated into German where German equivalents exist, and, if no equivalent, a person must select a new German name, and if no new name is selected by a date certain, the local German administration will assign a German name. Lemkin considered this to be genocide legislation; the UN did not adopt "cultural genocide" as part of the legal definition, however, sticking with the physical, biolgical, and economic components only. Genocide for Lemkin is a wholistic process of replacing one people with another, tied to lebensraum doctrine.

Also of note: Mussolini's Albanian statutes typically proceed over the signature of the King of Italy & Emperor of Ethiopia. Hungaria's annexations all proceed under the Holy Crown ideology. Brits in the Channel were deported.

Control of property begins with registration and sequestration (the latter is a restraint on alienation of property that does not otherwise interfere with title). Confiscations are effected on the basis of ethnicity, on the basis of criminal conviction (see infra), on the basis of reparations for injuries to Germans in the Versailles Treaty, on the basis of the local magistrate having a needle up his ass (many statutes involve how this or that gauleiter will liquidate the properties of dissolved unions, abolished parties, immoral companies, &c), and so on. Property in the Baltics to be returned to private ownership, provided that the private owners are politically satisfactory (which is a combination of ethnicity and willingness to supply the war economy).

Control of labor through corporativist mechanisms: right to strike abolished, on penalty of death; all persons must have a work-card; all persons must submit to compulsory labor (very corvee). Wages controlled. No liberty to terminate labor contracts on either end of the employment relationship. We are all proud, hard-workers in Poland, and are treated fairly! We are all part of occupational families in Vichy! We are all happy, dutiful ustashe laborers in Croatia! Solidarity of classes is the key component here--and, with the retention of private property and the civil law system, one of the the key distinctions between fascist economics and communist economics (the latter preferring class struggle to solidarity of classes, of course).

Criminal law is off-the-rails insane. Ex post facto rule is abolished. 24-hour notice of trial. Right to appeal conviction often abolished or restricted to the magistrate who issued the order to be appealed. German statutes apply for many offenses, and therefore German courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Only German attorneys may practice therein. Persons might be detained if there is reason to believe they may commit an anti-German crime in the future. Death penalty all around. Consignment to concentration camps for mildly pissing off a petty bureaucrat. Personal responsibility of all villagers for failure to report enemy plane crashes in the Banat. Personal responsibility of publishers and editors for their publications in Belgrade. Personal responsibility of industries for production quotas, registration duties, and so on--even to the point where mere negligence is punishable. Sabotage: will be shot. Espionage: will be shot. Hoarding: will be shot. Shirking compulsory labor: will be shot. Crossing state borders: will be shot. Retention of foreign securities: will be shot. Accepting property from Jewish people: will be shot. Mouthing off: will be shot. Not sufficiently active in supporting Germanism (real word!): will be shot. (Exaggerated on that last one, but the others are all in there.)

Most complicated is the financial material, involving the establishment of successive currencies, banks, trading institutions, international clearing houses in each occupied state. The latter is the primary tool to loot the occupied states via the imposition of odious debt: clearing works insofar as exporter and importer in state A and their reciprocal pair in state B are trading with each other, such that exporter receives payment from his compatriot importer through the clearing house on their own side. All works great if there's roughly an even balance of payments, as the clearing institutions work out the sums each day. It doesn't work so well when Germany says that there's nothing to export, but go ahead and keep sending the imports, and then when your exporter wants paid, have your clearing house arrange for the central bank in your own state (which we have also very kindly set up for you, with subscriptions of many investors) to fund the note, &c. The first order of WW2 reparations would likely have been the payment of outstanding invoices and notes from normal commerce that the Germans simply said, "uh, wait until the war's over and it'll all be good!"

And under all of it, blood-sucking fascist lawyers. Besides establishing new monopolies for the German bar in the occupied territories, many of the occupation judiciary statutes laid out that the courts might set reasonable attorney's fees. One can only imagine the result.

Includes historical vignettes for each subsection, regarding the course of the war & occupation, and the political developments within the occupants that led to their participation in the Axis--so it's definitely not a dry list of statutes. (The statutory appendix is thorough, though, and the reader will benefit from a JD.)

Great distinction between puppet state and puppet government; Croatia and Slovakia are puppet states, created by the fascists completely. Petain and Quisling form puppet governments in actually existing states.

Nice prefaces included, regarding the writing of the manuscript and Lemkin's background, including his attempts to codify genocide in the early '30s as the crimes of "barbarism" and "vandalism" (the latter concerns art objects and architectural sites, both of which Lemkin regarded as the property of all humanity).

Just knock-down awesome, the whole thing. Why haven't you losers read this yet?