Fritz Bauer, the former State Attorney General (Generalstaatsanwalt) for the state of Hesse and the man behind the Auschwitz Trials, for decades was known only to a small community of lawyers and historians. But even there, things took time: It was only in 1995 that the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt was established. Films about him would have been documentaries.
But all of a sudden, Fritz Bauer became a movie hero. In early 2015, the movie The Labyrinth of Lies came out. A second biopic came out later the same year: The People vs. Fritz Bauer, now followed by a TV feature movie: Die Akte General.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer covers pretty much the same ground as The Labyrinth of Lies, whereas Die Akte General zooms in on a different episode of Bauer‘s Nazi hunt, namely attempts to bring Hans Globke to justice. Globke in the 1950s served as Chief of Staff of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, having during the Nazi period been a senior officer in the Office for Jewish Affairs in the Ministry of the Interior and author of a legal commentary on the anti-semitic Nuremberg Race Laws.
For those amongst you who read German and would like to dive deeper into both Fritz Bauer‘s biography (and the difficulties of writing about him), here is some further reading:
Ronen Steinke is the author of an biography, Fritz Bauer. Oder: Auschwitz vor Gericht. Piper, München 2013. It has been reviewed by Jan Thiessen, Fritz Bauer – zur schwierigen Rezeption eines Lebenswegs, JZ 2015, 1069. A highly critical review by Erardo Rautenberg, Die Demontage des Generalstaatsanwalts Dr. Fritz Bauer, NJ 2014, 369, triggered a response by Ronen Steinke, Wissenschaftliche Standards verletzende Polemik – Eine Antwort auf Erado C. Rautenberg, NJ 2014, 513. Unfortunately, Juristenzeitung (JZ) is not available on-line, and Neue Justiz (NJ) only to subscribers.