Acta Iuris Stetinensis (Jan 2020)

Convicted Nazi lawyer. The case of Gerhard Pchalek in the Gera District Court in 1960

  • Konrad Graczyk

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 29


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This study is devoted to a criminal case brought before a court in the German Democratic Republic against Gerhard Pchalek in connection with his service as a prosecutor in the Third Reich. Pchalek served in the Polish territories incorporated into the Reich, in Bielsko and Ka¬towice. He was a prosecutor in proceedings before special courts in Bielsko and Katowice, as well as before the Higher National Court in Katowice, in which he filed motions to sentence defendants to the death penalty. In 20 cases - as was determined by the District Court in Gera - Pchalek demanded the death penalty, which was then imposed and enforced. His act was classified as aiding in murder under the provisions of the German Criminal Code, and Pchalek was sentenced to 4 years in strict regime prison. The paper discusses the biography of Pchalek, the issue of post-war criminal liability of Nazi lawyers and the criminal trial before the District Court in Gera. The study uses a historical, formal and dogmatic method. The criminal trial in question is one of the few cases in which a Nazi lawyer was convicted.