Justice and Accountability During the Holocaust: A Warning from History















  1. Handout_Complicity
  2. House Bill – Bystander Law
  3. Law and the Holocast
  4. Mansfield – The Role of Judges, Attorneys, and Bar Associations
  5. Nazis in the Courtroom
  6. Testimony Amos Guiora–Utah House Judiciary Committee (3)


David Cash Story – “The Bad Samaritan” 60 Minutes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWJJF_jCavk


Principal Acts of Anti-Jewish Legislation in Germany, 1933-1943 – http://pages.uoregon.edu/dluebke/Holocaust444-544/Judenpolitik.html


Location: Sidley Austin LLP, 1 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60603

Join us for an engaging and thought-provoking series of presentations that will explore the relevance of the Nazi era and Holocaust 75 years later, and the lessons and legal challenges that the world continues to confront today.

 2.50 Illinois MCLE Professional Responsibility Credits

Free for participants 


Registration & Continental Breakfast 

8:00 – 8:30 AM

The Role of Judges, Attorneys, and Bar Associations During the Holocaust

8:35 AM – 9:40 AM

Cathy L. MansfieldProfessor of Law, Director, Compliance and Risk Management Program, Drake University Law

Law and the legal profession played a key role in moving Germany from the democratic Weimar Republic to the Nazi dictatorship that ran Germany, and perpetrated the Holocaust, between 1933 and 1945. In this session we will examine the role of law, judges, attorneys, and bar associations, whether actively or through acquiescence, in the Nazi regime. We will look at Nazi laws; the Nazi court structure; some key judicial cases, opinions and jurists; and the treatment of Jewish lawyers by the Bar Associations.  Finally, we will discuss what lessons today’s legal profession can draw from the conduct of the legal profession during the Nazi regime, and whether the American legal system could ever be at risk of supporting such a regime. 

The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander from the Holocaust to Today

9:50 am– 10:45 AM 

Amos N. Guiora, Professor of Law, University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law

If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should you be legally obligated to intervene or is moral responsibility enough?
Based on his book The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust, Professor Amos Guiora discusses the bystander-victim relationship from a deeply personal and legal perspective, focusing first on the Holocaust and then exploring cases in contemporary society. He shares the experiences of his parents and grandparents during the Holocaust and draws on a wide range of historical material and interviews.
Questions of bystander complicity are, unfortunately, highly relevant today, from cases of sexual assault on college campuses to Harvey Weinstein to the former USA Gymnastics doctor and much more in the U.S. and around the world. He concludes that a society cannot rely on morals and compassion alone in determining our obligation to help another in danger. It is ultimately a legal issue and we must make the obligation to intervene the law, and thus non-intervention a crime.
Professor Guiora is a significant contributor of “Bystander—Duty to Act” legislation in Utah and is engaging with legislators and Attorney Generals across the country on the topic.

Panel Discussion: A Warning From History? Reflections for Today

10:45 am – 11:30 AM

Professor Cathy L. Mansfield and Professor Amos N. Guiora

Although a historical event that ended in 1945, the Holocaust, the Nazi regime and its collaborators that perpetrated the Holocaust have continuing relevance to lawyers, who can benefit from studying the era and the legal legacy left in its wake. How is the rule of law changed when the boundaries of the legitimacy of law and legal construct challenged, or deemed by many to be unethical? What is one’s professional and legal responsibility to uphold such laws?  When we take the lessons of the Holocaust and apply them to today’s world, are bystanders legally complicit in the perpetrator’s actions? Is the perpetrator of the crime dependent on bystander’s inaction? While the bystander is not responsible for the initial harm, is the conscious decision not to act enhancing the vulnerable victim’s peril?  What does this mean practically? Should you be legally obligated to intervene or is moral responsibility enough? 







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