Kempner, Robert, born on 17-10-1899, son of Walter Kempner, who died age 51, on 29-11-1920 and Lydia Rabinowitsch, who died age 64 on 03-08-1935, ten years after Adolf Hitler, in Freiburg, Germany, a German-born American lawyer. Kempner was a successful Jewish lawyer in Berlin, Gauleiter Josef Goebbels
during the 1920s who then became the chief legal adviser to the Prussian police. Kempner participated in the investigation and prosecution of Adolf Hitler and Wilhelm Frick in 1924, following Adolf Hitler’s
(did you know
) attempt to overthrow the German government in the Beer Hall Putsch (see Gustav von Kahr
). At the time he recommended the dissolution of the Nationalsocialist party. After the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933, Hermann Goering
(did you know
) (see Goering Peter
) and (Goering-Sonnemann
fired Kempner from his position because of his activities against the new regime. Kempner was then arrested and held for two months in a concentration camp after being accused of leaking information about Germany’s rearmament, activities forbidden under the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles. In 1935, Wilhelm Frick
hanged in Nuremberg, then
the Interior Minister, used Kempner’s Jewish background to revoke his German citizenship. Kempner was then expelled from Germany. He taught law for a few years in Italy before immigrating to the United States. After World War II Kempner returned to Germany, the land of his birth, to serve as assistant U.S. chief counsel during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.
German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt (with his back to the camera) speaks to American prosecutor Robert Kempner (left) and interpreter Gerald Schwab during a pause at the IMT Nuremberg commission hearings investigating the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces. June 19, 1946. In a reversal of fortune, Kempner would prosecute two of his former superiors and persecutors, Goering( see Goering-Fock
) and Frick. Hermann Goering committed suicide, age 53, on 15-10-1946 and Wilhelm Frick, was hanged on 16-10-1946, age 69. Their ashes are scattered in the river Isar in Munich, from the Reichenbachbridge during a night.
More familiar with the German legal system than any other member of the Allied staff, Kempner headed the Defense Rebuttal Section, the team responsible for anticipating the defense strategies of the accused and for preparing cross-examinations. Kempner also presented the case against his old nemesis Wilhelm Frick. This irony was not lost on the American press. One headline read, “Man He Exiled Presents Case Against Frick.” Kempner also served as counsel at the 1947-1948 trial of the German Foreign Office and is credited with finding the text of the Wannsee Protocol, a critical historical document in the history of the Holocaust.
Death and burial ground of Kempner, Robert Max Wasilii.
After Nuremberg, Kempner split his time between the United States and Germany where he represented Jewish clients in restitution cases against Germany. He also appeared as an expert witness at the trial of Adolf Eichmann
in Jerusalem in 1961, he was hanged age 56, on 01-06-1962.
Kempner died on 15-08-1993 at the age of 93 and is buried with his wife Nadja, who died age 31 on 02-10-1932, on the Parkfriedhof Lichterfelde, a suburb of Berlin. Also buried there is Kurt von Schleicher
the former Chanccelor of Germany, murdered in the ” Knight of the long Knives”, as Hitler killed his SA opponents. (see Ernst Röhm
) (see Edmund Heines
) and (see August Schneidhuber
). The Night of the Long Knives between 30 June and 2 July 1934 saw the killing of approximately 82 SA men, including almost its entire leadership, effectively ending the power of the SA.