Avi Nachmani
Avi NachmaniCourtesy

Holocaust Remembrance Day is full of stories of heroism. As a law student, I was recently exposed to one of the more exciting stories - about a Jewish lawyer who tried to arrest Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party even before the party came to power. This is the story of Hans Litten, which is less well known in the public consciousness and deserves to be given more expression in view of Holocaust Day, the seventh of October, and everything in between.

Litten was a 27-year-old, German Jewish lawyer who represented victims of the Nazi Party before it came to power.

His professional peak was in 1931 in the fight against the Nazi Party, when on May 8 he succeeded in summoning the oppressive leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler, to the witness stand at the Berlin Criminal Court - even before that he was appointed Chancellor.

The legal process led by Litten, to make Hitler testify as a key witness about the crimes of his party operatives, could have jeopardized the political future of the Nazi oppressor. Litten exposed and presented Hitler's brutal methods, but in those years the German justice system bowed to the government and did not show a backbone and stand for the principles of the rule of law.

Two years later, in January 1933, the Nazi Party came to power. Hitler did not forget the humiliation he suffered in the interrogations by the young Jewish jurist and ordered the arrest of Litten. Despite the pleas of his family members, Litten refused to leave Berlin, in order to continue representing the weak working class in the city, which was unable to escape.

Litan was arrested and for five years underwent severe torture. In 1938, when he was only 34 years old, he ended his life. A memorial was erected in his memory in Berlin and a street was named after him.

Hans Litten memorial
Hans Litten memorialCourtesy of the writer

This is, in a nutshell, the moving story of attorney Hans Litten, to which I was exposed as part of a course by Prof. Yuval Albashan at the Ono Academic College. I do not know how many have heard of the brave Jewish young lawer, Eness Litten, who went out to fight against the Nazi monster, but one can only imagine what would have happened, if the court system in Germany at that time was independent and prosecuted the Nazi oppressor.

These days, a comparison is floating in the air between the Holocaust and the horrors of the seventh of October. The opinions differ widely. Under the radar, however, there are discussions about the proper legal procedure for the Nukba terrorists.

Who will represent them? What will be the procedure, will a special court will be established, can the death penalty can be applied to them, and other complex legal questions.

interrogation room for nukhba terrorists/Channel 13
interrogation room for nukhba terrorists/Channel 13

The Israeli justice system is facing the greatest legal challenge it has known in its history. One thing is clear: the victory in this legal arena requires courage, heroism and composure like that of Hans Litten, the will to go all the way with the Nazis of the 7th of October.

Avi Nachmani is a social activist and a law student at Ono Academic College