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Editor's choiceFormer Eugenics leader Ernst Rüdin on trial in Romania

Former Eugenics leader Ernst Rüdin on trial in Romania

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The International Mock Trial on Human Rights of Ernst Rüdin was held in the plenary hall of the Romanian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday 22nd March.

A distinguished panel of Judges consisting of two judges from the Constitutional Court of Romania and the vice-President of the Romanian Senate preceded over this educational Mock Trial. Judge Ms Laura-Iuliana Scântei summarized the decision stating that if the defendant former Eugenics leader and prof. of psychiatry, Ernst Rüdin (1874-1952) would have been standing before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, we would have heard these words of the president of that tribunal: “ERNST RÜDIN, The Tribunal finds you guilty of charges 1, 3 and 4 consisting of incitement to crimes against humanity; inciting as well as directly causing the crime against humanity called sterilization; and membership of criminal organizations [the Association of German Neurologists and Psychiatrists] defined according to the Nuremberg Principles.”

Constitutional Court Judge, Ms Laura-Iuliana Scântei, pointed out that the defendant Ernst Rüdin, was one of the founders of the Nazi racial hygiene movement, promoter of eugenic ideas and policies in Germany, of the Nazi eugenic sterilization law and other policies that aimed to kill children and patients with physical and mental disabilities considered genetic defects, in a heinous extermination program euphemistically called Euthanasia.

The International Mock Trial on Human Rights of Ernst Rüdin was held in the plenary hall of the Romanian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday 22nd March. It was a first for Romania and Europe. The International Mock Trial on Human Rights which is an action part of an educational program for young leaders initiated by Dr. Avi Omer from the Social Excellence Forum had previously been held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 31st January.

The initiative to hold the Mock Trial in Romania was taken by the Magna cum Laude-Reut Foundation and the “Laude-Reut” Educational Complex, together with the Social Excellence Forum team and the Embassy of the State of Israel in Romania.

The prosecution and defendant litigators consisted of pupils and students from the “Laude-Reut” Educational Complex and other colleges and universities in Bucharest, Iasi, Ploiesti, Buzău and Sibiu.

A struggle of all those who believe in freedom

“I greatly appreciate the openness of the Romanian Parliament to bring to the fore and shed light on a difficult page from the past. Today we are facing a historic moment and a first in Romania – a mock trial of one of the Nazi criminals directly responsible for the racial genocide. It is a trial that was necessary to take place even post-mortem for past, present and future generations and for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and their families (…) It is a constant and assumed struggle of all those who believe in freedom, dignity and moral values. This struggle is also fought through education. With today’s simulation, I believe that we have made a valuable contribution to the knowledge of the truth and with it to the fight against anti-Semitism and extremism”, said Tova Ben Nun-Cherbis, President of the “Laude-Reut” Educational Complex.

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, underlined that the action in the Parliament brings back into focus the importance of learning to use international human rights instruments and the historical reparation made in memory of the generations of victims of the Holocaust.

The Minister of Culture of Romania, Mr Lucian Romașcanu, pointed out that: “The fact that we are in the Parliament’s plenary hall and not in a court of law, this mock trial is more than symbolic, because in this hall people elected to be here can vote on laws, can do things that do not allow what you are called today to judge. It is again a symbol that over the years, no matter how many have passed, bad things are not forgotten, and the Holocaust, the great crimes against the Roma, against the communist prisoners must remain in memory. (…) No matter how many years go by, guilt surfaces and the guilty are punished.”

The distinguished panel of Judges consisted of:

Mr Marian Enache – President of the Constitutional Court

Ms Laura-Iuliana Scântei – Judge of the Constitutional Court of Romania

Mr Robert Cazanciuc – Vice-President of the Romanian Senate

O8A0752 1024x683 - Former Eugenics leader Ernst Rüdin on trial in Romania
Expert Witness Dr. David Deutsch, International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Other witnesses included Prof. Alon Chan, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Prof. Marius Turda, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, Oxford Brookes University. Photo credit: THIX Photo.

Promoters of racial hygiene played a major role in the Holocaust

Israel’s ambassador to Romania, Mr Reuven Azar, put it straight when he said: “Today’s conference is meant to evoke an obligation on all of us not to forget the horrors that happened just 78 years ago. (…) During the Nazi regime, more than 400,000 people were forcibly sterilised and some 300,000 of the patients in psychiatric institutions were killed, while 70,000 of them were killed in gas chambers. Promoters of racial hygiene, including Ernst Rüdin, played a major role in the Holocaust, which victimised Jews as well as Roma, Slavs, coloured persons and people with physical or intellectual disabilities. The consequence of the Nazi regime was the Holocaust. This is a unique phenomenon compared to any other genocide in human history.”

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