Hans Litten
German lawyer
Hans Litten
Hans Achim Litten was a German lawyer who represented opponents of the Nazis at important political trials between 1929 and 1932, defending the rights of workers during the Weimar Republic. During one trial in 1931, Litten subpoenaed Adolf Hitler, to appear as a witness, where Litten then cross-examined Hitler for three hours. Hitler was so rattled by the experience that, years later, he would not allow Litten's name to be mentioned in his presence.
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Hans Litten's personal information overview.
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The Man Who Crossed Hitler, BBC Two, review - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
The story opened with a Jewish lawyer, Hans Litten (Ed Stoppard), being handed an intriguing case: he was to prosecute two Nazi Brown Shirts for the murder of four communists at the Eden Dance Palace in Berlin. Egged on by a friend, the Left-wing
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Rewind TV: The Man Who Crossed Hitler; Hans Litten vs Adolf Hitler: To Stop a ... - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
SCENE OF THE WEEK And so to Channel 5's festival of cruel and unusual punishment that is Celebrity Big Brother (may contain strong language, flashing images, a shopping task, self-advertisement, underwear, scenes of worrying ignorance)
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For corruption and sex, it's the Borgias every time - Financial Times
Google News - over 5 years
Hitler's crimes are still vivid to us, and so the actors, Ian Hart as Hitler and Ed Stoppard as Hans Litten, did their earnest best. Anton Lesser, as Litten's ally, did his best impersonation of Anton Lesser, a role familiar to viewers of The Hour
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TV matters: The BBC's Hitler season - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Ian Hart as Hitler and Ed Stoppard as Hans Litten in The Man Who Crossed Hitler. Photograph: Steffan Hills/BBC/Hardy Pictures/Steffan Hill A traditional rule of journalism is that two is a coincidence but three is a trend
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Hans Litten vs Adolf Hitler - Socialistworker.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
This documentary explores the failed attempt by Jewish lawyer Hans Litten to challenge the rise of Adolf Hitler through the courts in the 1930s. He even cross-examined Hitler in court over his orchestration of Nazi violence
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The Weekend's TV: The Man Who Crossed Hitler, Sun, BBC2 - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
Hans Litten, the drama's hero, was a radical Berlin lawyer who, in 1931, subpoenaed Adolf Hitler in the trial of two SA men accused of a murderous attack on a socialist's meeting. His intention was to put Hitler in the witness stand and expose the
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Ian Hart: Why I wanted to play Hitler, interview - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Ian Hart portrays Adolf Hitler in The Man Who Crossed Hitler, a BBC Two drama about Hans Litten, the lawyer who put the Nazi leader in the dock. Photo: BBC By John Preston How is an actor supposed to respond when a casting director calls him up and
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The man who annoyed Adolf Hitler - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
So who was Hans Litten? In the Berlin courtroom, Adolf Hitler's face burned a deep, furious red. The future dictator was not accustomed to this kind of scrutiny. But here he was, being interrogated about the violence of his paramilitary thugs by a
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The Man Who Crossed Hitler: New Period Courtroom Drama on BBC Two - Suite101.com
Google News - over 5 years
Prosecutor 29-year-old Hans Litten (played by Ed Stoppard) chooses to subpoena rising political star Adolf Hitler (played by Ian Hart) to a trial of Nazi thugs. The setting is summer 1931, and Germany is in danger of economic collapse
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Sender BBC dreht in Lichtenburg - Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
Google News - over 5 years
Ein Film-Team der BBC (Fernsehen) London hat das Schloss Lichtenburg besucht, und zwar im Zusammenhang mit Dreharbeiten für die Darstellung des Schicksals von Hans Litten. Der jüdische Jurist war wegen seines Engagements gegen das Nazi-Regime von Adolf
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BBC Two plan Shirley Bassey drama - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Ian Hart has been signed up to play the role of Hitler and Ed Stoppard will play lawyer Hans Litten in the one-off drama. Stephen Fry has signed up to front a new series called Fry's Planet World in which he examines the English Language
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Berliner Alltag vor Gericht - taz
Google News - over 5 years
Der spätere "Führer" wurde vom Verteidiger der Nebenklage, dem Anwalt Hans Litten, vernommen, um zu beweisen, dass der Angriff eines SA-Rollkommandos auf das von linken Arbeitern besuchte Tanzlokal Eden von der NSDAP-Parteiführung geplant und Teil der
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BerlinRadar: Tempelhof-Schöneberg: Bilder eines Gerichtsreporters - Berliner Morgenpost
Google News - almost 6 years
Im "Edenpalast-Prozess" 1931 beispielsweise fotografierte er einen angespannten Adolf Hitler nach der Vernehmung durch den Rechtsanwalt und NS-Gegner Hans Litten. Im Foyer des Rathauses Schöneberg am John-F.-Kennedy-Platz wird am 24
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Hans Litten
    THIRTIES
  • 1938
    Age 34
    On the evening of February 4, 1938, it was clear what Litten had in mind, but no one kept watch.
    More Details Hide Details In the middle of the night, his bed was discovered empty and his friends found him hanging in the lavatory. Litten wrote a few parting words and that he had decided to take his life. Right away, during one of his first trials, Litten caused a sensation, setting the stage for his future as a "labor lawyer". He represented workers who were sentenced in March 1921 to a long term at hard labor in a Zuchthaus for organized resistance against a police raid of a mass uprising in the central German industrial region a year earlier. The police raid was ordered by the Prussian Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing. Litten was able to get some of the workers recognized as political actors, making them eligible under the amnesty law of August 1920. Through his law partner, Barbasch, Litten got involved with the Rote Hilfe, a solidarity organization founded by Wilhelm Pieck and Clara Zetkin that supported worker's families in dire need during the turbulent early years of the Weimar Republic. In addition, the Rote Hilfe arranged legal support and legal defense for workers who were under indictment for their political activities or views. By mid 1929, the Rote Hilfe had helped nearly 16,000 arrested workers with legal defense and supported the legal rights of another 27,000 cases.
    On February 5, 1938, after five years of interrogation and torture and a failed escape attempt, Litten was found by several friends from his barracks, hanging in the lavatory, a suicide.
    More Details Hide Details The day before his suicide, one of Litten's friends, Alfred Dreifuß, found a noose under Litten's pillow. He showed it to the blockälteste, who said it wasn't the first that had been found in Litten's possession. At the time, Litten was under interrogation in the "bunker" (see photo). When he came back, he was clearly in a suicidal frame of mind, repeating several times that he "must speak with Heinz Eschen", a prisoner who had just died. He also had recently told his friends that he'd had enough of being imprisoned. Another of Litten's Dachau friends, Alfred Grünebaum, said later that Litten was in constant fear of more brutal interrogations and that Litten had given up on ever being free.
  • 1937
    Age 33
    Litten's last letter to his family, written in November 1937, spoke of the situation, adding that the Jewish prisoners were soon to be denied mail privileges until further notice.
    More Details Hide Details All letters from Jewish prisoners at Dachau ceased at this time. In the face of their depressing situation, the Jews at Dachau made efforts to have culture and discussion in their lives, to keep their spirits up. Litten would recite Rilke for hours and he impressed the other prisoners with his knowledge on many subjects. Underneath, however, Litten was losing hope.
    He arrived on October 16, 1937, and was put in the Jewish barracks.
    More Details Hide Details The Jewish prisoners were isolated from others because Jews in other countries were then spreading the grim news about Dachau.
    In summer 1937, Litten was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp for a month, before finally being sent to Dachau.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1934
    Age 30
    Despite his injuries and suffering, Litten strove to maintain his spirits. At one point, in 1934, his situation improved a little bit when he was moved to Lichtenburg.
    More Details Hide Details Initially, it was the same, with more beatings, but then he was allowed to work in the book bindery and the library. On occasion, he was able to listen to music on the radio on Sundays. He was well liked and respected by his fellow prisoners for his knowledge, inner strength and courage. One prisoner wrote about a party (allowed by the SS) at which a number of SS men were in attendance. Unafraid of their presence, Litten recited the lyrics of a song that had meant a lot to him in his youth, "Thoughts are free" (in German, Die Gedanken sind frei). The prisoner said that apparently the SS men did not grasp the significance of the words.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1933
    Age 29
    He attempted suicide in 1933 in an attempt to avoid endangering his former clients, but he was revived by the Nazis so that they could interrogate him further.
    More Details Hide Details Litten's suicide attempt came at Spandau Prison, after he buckled under torture administered to extract information about the Felsenecke trial (see below). After revealing some information, he was immediately accused in the press as an accomplice to the murder of an SA man. Litten then wrote a letter to the Gestapo, saying that evidence gained in such a manner was not true and that he recanted. Knowing what awaited him, he then attempted to take his life. Litten's mother wrote about his ordeal, recounting how injuries sustained by him early on left his health permanently damaged. One eye and one leg were injured, never recovering; his jawbone fractured; inner ear damaged; and many teeth knocked out. She also related how, despite her access to many important people in Germany at that time, including Reichswehrminister Werner von Blomberg, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, Reichsbischof Ludwig Müller, Minister of Justice Franz Gürtner and even then-State Secretary Roland Freisler, she was unable to secure her son's release.
    Hitler's hatred for Litten was not forgotten and in the early hours of February 28, 1933, the night of the Reichstag fire, he was rousted from his bed, arrested and taken into protective custody.
    More Details Hide Details Litten's colleagues Ludwig Barbasch and Professor Felix Halle were also arrested. Litten was first sent – without trial – to Spandau Prison. From there, he was moved from camp to camp, despite efforts by his mother to free him, along with jurists and prominent people from in and outside Germany, such as Clifford Allen and the "European Conference for Rights and Freedom", which had members from several countries. Litten was sent to Sonnenburg concentration camp, Brandenburg-Görden Prison, where he was tortured, along with anarchist Erich Mühsam. In February 1934, he was moved to the Moorlager, Esterwegen concentration camp in Emsland and a few months later, he was sent to Lichtenburg. The treatment Litten suffered was later described to his mother by an eyewitness. Very early on, he was beaten so badly that the Nazis refused to let even his fellow prisoners see him. He was tortured and forced into hard labor.
  • 1931
    Age 27
    In May 1931, Litten summoned Adolf Hitler to testify in the Tanzpalast Eden Trial, a court case involving two workers stabbed by four SA men.
    More Details Hide Details Litten cross examined Hitler for three hours, finding many points of contradiction and proving that Hitler had exhorted the SA to embark on a systematic campaign of violence against the Nazis' enemies. This was crucial because Hitler was meanwhile trying to pose as a conventional politician to middle class voters and maintained that the Nazi Party was "strictly legal". Though a judge halted Litten's questioning, thus saving Hitler from further damning exposure, newspapers at the time reported on the trial in detail and Hitler was investigated for perjury that summer. He survived the investigation intact, but was rattled by the experience. By 1932, the Nazi party was in ascendancy. Litten's mother and friends were urging him to leave Germany, but he stayed. He said, "The millions of workers can't leave here, so I must stay too".
  • 1930
    Age 26
    On November 22, 1930, an SA Rollkommando attacked a popular dance hall frequented predominantly by left-wing workers.
    More Details Hide Details The victims were members of a migrant workers' association that was holding a meeting at the Tanzpalast Eden ("Eden Dance Palace") in Berlin. Three people were killed and 20 injured in an attack that was planned in advance. The subsequent police investigation was plodding and slow. Litten used four of the injured to represent the plaintiff, seeking to prove three cases of attempted manslaughter, breach of the peace and assault. In addition to pursuing criminal convictions of the offenders, Litten wanted to show that the Nazis intentionally used terror as a tactic to destroy the democratic structures of the Weimar Republic. Hitler was summoned to appear as a witness in court to that end.
    Shortly before, in September 1930, Hitler had appeared in Leipzig as a witness at the "Ulm Reichswehr Trial" against two officers charged with conspiracy to commit treason for having had membership in the Nazi Party, at that time, forbidden to Reichswehr personnel.
    More Details Hide Details Hitler had insisted that his party operated legally, that the phrase "National Revolution" was to be interpreted only "politically", and that his Party was a friend, not an enemy of the Reichswehr. Under oath, Hitler had described the SA as an organization of "intellectual enlightenment" and explained his statement that "heads will roll" as a comment about "intellectual revolution". The court called Hitler to appear on the witness stand on May 8, 1931. Litten set out to show that the SA Sturm 33 ("Storm 33") was a rollkommando (a small, mobile paramilitary unit, generally murderous) and that its attack of the Eden and the resulting murders were undertaken with the knowledge of the party leadership. This would mean that the Nazi Party was not, in fact, a legal and democratic organization and would undermine Hitler's efforts to be seen as a serious politician and statesman.
  • 1928
    Age 24
    He declined both choosing instead to open a law office in 1928 with Dr. Ludwig Barbasch, a friend who was close to the Communist Party.
    More Details Hide Details Politically Litten was on the left, though independent. He valued his independence and once said, "two people would be one too many for my party." Culturally, Litten was conservative, enjoying classical music and poetry such as that of Rainer Maria Rilke, whose work he could recite. He was an internationalist and was able to read English, Italian, and Sanskrit and enjoyed the music of the Middle East. He had a photographic memory and was considered to have a brilliant intellect.
  • 1927
    Age 23
    Litten passed his examinations in 1927 with excellent grades and was offered a lucrative job in the Reich Ministry of Justice, as well as a good position in a flourishing law firm.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1924
    Age 20
    The Kapp Putsch, the 1924 court case against Adolf Hitler and other events convinced Litten that Germany was approaching a very dangerous period.
    More Details Hide Details His perception that right-wing radicals were receiving more lenient treatment in court than their opponents led to his decision to become a lawyer.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1914
    Age 10
    There is an amusing anecdote from Litten's school years, when he was asked in the classroom if they should hang a picture of Paul von Hindenburg, victor of the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg.
    More Details Hide Details Litten stated, "I've always been in favour of hanging him." Litten was pressured into studying law by his father. He was not interested in it, writing in his journal, "When the ox in paradise was bored, he invented jurisprudence." He wanted to study art history, but nonetheless, he approached his law studies in Berlin and Munich with intensity, inspired by the events of the day.
  • 1903
    Born
    Born on June 19, 1903.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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