Berne Trial

The so-called Bernese process was an internationally acclaimed Criminal Procedure, which was conducted from 1933 to 1935 due to a complaint of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG ) and the Jewish Community of Bern for violation of the Bernese Law on cinematography and measures against the pulp fiction of 1916. In the heart of the process questioning of witnesses and expert reports were the current use of anti-Semitic " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " in Switzerland.

The judgment came to the conclusion that it is a bad piece of work, plagiarism and forgery in this font.

Frontistische event in the Bernese Casino

On June 13, 1933 took place at the Casino Bern, organized by the National Front and the home defense event with the former Chief of Staff and Frontists Emil Sonderegger was the main speaker instead. Other speakers at this event were the Swiss Army Fonjallaz Arthur and Henry Wechlin, then chief editor of the newspaper Berner day sheet. Oberstdivisionär Emil Sonderegger was the keynote speaker presented by Major Ernst Leonhardt, Basel, Gauführer the National Front. At this event, the National Front provided the (imported from Germany ) Brochure The Protocols of Zion, an edition of the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " with a preface and epilogue of the German anti-Semitic publisher Theodor Fritsch, for sale. In addition, the not one of the organizers belonging Federation National Socialist Confederation ( BNSE ) distributed a pamphlet calling on all loyal and home blood- conscious Confederates! with insults against Jews and the fight Journal of BNSE (the confederate ). On the grounds, so that was against the prohibition to bring trashy literature in traffic, being contravened, Georges Brunschvig reimbursed on behalf of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community of Bern on June 26, 1933 complaint against the district administration of BNSE as well as against persons unknown.

Theodor Fritsch's " Zionist Protocols "

The frontistische propaganda declared the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " for real: These were a book authored by Jews secret program with the goal, by all means politically worldwide to come to power (eg by supporting corrupt politicians, by the use of subways for planting bombs, by various economic measures, etc. ). Fritsch claimed in his incriminated edition of the book that the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " were written on the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 by Jews. In the preface he brings as supposed proof a misleading commented quote of Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis, who had participated in 1897 at the Basel Congress itself.

Commencement of the trial on November 16, 1933

After preliminary investigation, the trial was finally against five people opened: the Zurich architect Theodor Fischer, Federal Director of BNSE, as leaders of the incriminated Pamphlet and as editor of the BNSE fight sheet The confederate, in which the defamatory anti -Semitic articles Swiss girl beware of the schändenden Jews! was published by Alberto Meyer, Zurich; next to it. representing the Bernese Gauleitung of BNSE against the merchant Georg Haller, at the time of the event Gauleiter, and the lawyer Johann Konrad Meyer Because of the distribution of copies of the National Front that evening, including The Protocols of Zion, were Silvio Schnell, a member of the National Front, local group Bern, and designated as " leader of this group " in the police report Walter Ebersold in court. Judge was Walter Meyer. In their statements, Theodor Fischer took over the responsibility for the pamphlet and Silvio quick for the distribution of copies of the National Front, while the remaining defendants refused any personal responsibility. Finally, the negotiation with the decision about the authenticity or inauthenticity of the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " was obtain expertise, was postponed indefinitely.

Second trial phase in October 1934

The process focused from now on to the question whether the ' Protocols of the Elders of Zion' real or rather a plagiarism and forgery are. For the continuation of the trial from 29 to October 31 1934 witnesses were summoned: once participants of the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, among them Chief Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis of Stockholm; then different in exile (mostly in Paris ) live Russians were able which provide information on a possible drafting of the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion ' on behalf of the tsarist political police, the Okhrana, with the purpose to isolate liberal politicians and anti-Semitic feelings at the time of notorious Russian pogroms to stir. In addition, the alleged complicity between Jews and Freemasons was an issue, and Berner Freemasons were heard as witnesses to it. Similarly, the question of the extent of Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik Soviet government was negotiated. The plaintiffs had mobilized most of these witnesses and allows the appearance of these often have traveled from abroad witnesses with considerable financial commitment. Among the witnesses, there was also Chaim Weizmann, later the first president of Israel. The only one of the defendants named witness was Alfred Zander, Zurich, who had the iron broom written several articles about the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " in the newspaper of the National Front. Following the testimony, the defendant filed a fisherman against various front botene of the claimant witnesses display for alleged false testimony.

List of witnesses

  • Chaim Weizmann, London

Witnesses to Tsarist Russia

  • Alexandre du Chayla (1885-1945); he visited Sergei Nilus
  • Sergius Swatikow (1880-1942)
  • Vladimir Lvovitch Burtsev (1862-1942)
  • Boris Ivanovich Nicolaevsky (1887-1966)
  • Sliosberg Henry (1863-1937), a Jewish lawyer

Participated in the First Zionist Congress

  • Mayer Ebner, Chernivtsi / time in Romania (1872-1955)
  • Marcus Ehrenpreis, Stockholm ( Chief Rabbi )
  • David Farbstein, Zurich (1868-1953), Swiss National
  • Max I. Bodenheimer, Amsterdam (1865-1940)
  • Franz Sieber ( stenographer )
  • Hermann Dietrich ( stenographer )
  • Otto Zoller (1897 editor of the Basler Nachrichten )

Witnesses to Freemasonry

  • Theodor Tobler, Bern ( chocolate manufacturer, Freemasons )
  • Eduard Welti, Bern ( Masonic )

Witness the defendant

  • Alfred Zander (1905-1997)

Not published witnesses

  • Philip Graves, London ( lodged a written testimony before the Court )
  • Armand Kaminka, Vienna / Jerusalem ( precharged but prevented)
  • Alberto Meyer, Zurich ( author of the incriminated anti-Semitic article in Swiss girl ... The confederate )

Third trial phase in 1935

In the continuation of the trial in the period from April 29 to May 13, 1935 was replaced by three experts on: Carl Albert Loosli, Bern- Bümpliz, as designated by the judge Walter Meyer expert, Arthur Baumgarten, Basel, as designated by the plaintiffs expert and Lieutenant Colonel Ulrich Fleischhauer, Erfurt, as designated by the defendant (anti -Semitic ) expert from Germany. The appointed experts had to answer the following questions of the judge Walter Meyer:

Additional matters for the attention of the experts were formulated by the claimant. During this trial 1935 no further witnesses were summoned more. While the experts Carl Albert Loosli and Arthur Baumgarten called the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " as plagiarism and as fabricated by helpers of the Russian political police Okhrana forgery as well as pulp fiction, said the German expert Ulrich Fleischhauer, the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " were written by the Jewish writer Ahad Ha'am and adopted at a (parallel to the First Zionist Congress in Basel) 1897, held secret meetings of the B'nai B'rith Jewish Freemasons.

Judgment of 14 May 1935, and revision of the judgment in 1937

Finally, the defendant Theodore Fischer and Silvio were quickly sentenced by Judge Walter Meyer, while the three other defendants were acquitted. However, the penalties imposed were more symbolic nature: Theodor Fischer, found guilty of infringement of Article 14 of the Law on cinematography and measures against the trashy literature by distributing Let the call to all home faithful and blood- conscious Confederates, by touting the booklet The Protocols of Zion in several numbers the newspaper the confederate and by publishing the article Swiss girl beware of the schändenden Jews!, became the Busszahlung of 50 francs and Silvio Schnell, found guilty of the offenses committed against Article 14 of the law by distributing the booklet the protocols of Zion, was to Busszahlung of 20 Franks sentenced. The Shawshank Redemption, however, had to take over a significant part of the cost of the state of the process and part of the cost of the complaining party. In his oral reasoning of the Court Walter Meyer stated that he had come because of its assessment of the testimonies and expert opinions to the conclusion that were " Protocols of the Elders of Zion " a plagiarism and a fake and " pulp fiction " within the meaning of Bern Act, the a minority slandering and at best could incitement to crime.

Theodor Fischer himself and the lawyer of Silvio Schnell ( Hans Ruef, Bern ) immediately declared they would appeal and to the Bernese court appeal ( as the second instance ). The Bernese court said on November 1, 1937 in the appeal proceeding under Chief Justice Otto Peter, the two convicted in the first instance defendants Theodore Fischer and Silvio Quick from formal legal grounds freely, because the concept of " pulp fiction " of the Berne Act not on "political publications " applicable was, but according to the will of the legislature only " unethical and immoral hazardous ( obscene ) writings ." However, the court rejected the takeover of the party costs of acquitted in revision defendant by the plaintiff on the ground: " But who is such inflammatory articles meanest variety on the market, giving it resulting costs must be viable. "

Occurrence of Nazi middlemen

The defense of the defendant's costs of the process have been partially applied by Nazi agents who acted on behalf of the German government. Ulrich Fleischhauer, appointed by the defendants expert was even international markets with its world - service as anti-Semitic organizer and took over the possibility of intelligence tasks in favor of Nazi Germany abroad. To talk was also an intervention Ulrich Fleischhauer 1935, when this person at the then Federal President Rudolf Minger auditioned, to complain about the disrespectful remarks of the expert Carl Albert Loosli over Nazi Germany. The plaintiffs, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG ) and the Jewish Community of Bern, were represented in court by the Bernese lawyers Hans Matti and Georges Brunschvig ( assisted by Emil Raas ). The Complaining Party took over a substantial part of the costs for the appearance of witnesses in court and for the drafting of expert reports by Arthur Baumgarten and Carl Albert Loosli.

Archive material in the documents

The various documents in the court records and the negotiation protocols of the process to question the origin of the " Protocols of the Elders of Zion ' are now seen as important sources for researchers and historians. Of particular interest are the so-called " Russian records " left to the experts Carl Albert Loosli copy from the Moscow lawyer ( and author of a book on the Beilis trial ) Aleksandr Tager ( 1888-1939 ) with the approval of the Soviet government for exclusively personal use have been. These are the original documents of the tsarist police and administration, whose authenticity has been confirmed by a number of expert witnesses 1934. Born in Russia Bernese lawyer Boris Lifshits (1879-1967) had contacts with the Soviet administration and played an important role in obtaining the " Russian records " and the summons exiled Russian witnesses. As a contact person of the applicant to the emigrated to France Russian witnesses of the Bernese process 1934 ( all of which were against Bolshevism ) served emigrated after Hitler's seizure of power from Berlin to Paris Tcherikower Elias ( 1881-1943 ).