On May 15, 1946, this man, a lawyer & law professor, was hanged for murder.
His name forever stains the roster of those who profess to a greater knowledge of the law in order to facilitate justice and fairness in their communities.
Eberhardt Karl Schoengarth (also sometimes presented as Schongarth), born in 1903, was a German Lawyer and Law Professor who became a Nazi lawyer. Schoengarth not only had a law degree but also a doctorate of law. It was as “Doctor Schoengarth” that he was referred to as professor of law at Leibinitz University in Germany.
At his trial, and again according to MacPherson’s book,:
“The president of the court had asked him, ‘If you received an order from Hitler or Himmler that you were to disregard the rights of prisoners of war, would you as a doctor of law have felt bound to obey that or not?’”
What the judge had thrown out at Schoengarth was a unique variation of the defense of superior orders, that Schoengarth was acting as a military officer in accordance with orders he had received and could not therefore be personally held criminally liable for those actions.
But Schoengarth, it seemed, had become through and through evil or just resigned to his fate. He replied, “as a doctor of law”:
“I would have had to carry out this order, has an order has to be carried out even if it cancels any existing laws.”
And then he felt obliged to add this to the Court record: that he was proud of his service as a Nazi and as a Gestapo officer.
He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging which was carried out on May 15, 1946.