Heinrich Hannover defends WSWS against slanderous attack by Brandenburg intelligence service

13 November 2003

Below we are publishing a letter by Dr. Heinrich Hannover dealing with the attacks made by the Brandenburg intelligence service against the World Socialist Web Site and an article by Lena Sokoll, which was published by the WSWS on February 24, 2001. The intelligence service accused the article (“The deadly consequences of Germany’s refugee policy”) of being the intellectual driving force behind a violent assault on the immigration office in the city of Frankfurt/Oder carried out by unknown culprits on September 16, 2003. [See “Germany: Brandenburg intelligence service slanders the World Socialist Web Site”]

Born in 1925, Heinrich Hannover is well known for his work as a lawyer and author. Over a period of four decades, he has acted as attorney for the defence in a series of mainly political trials, defending such figures as Günter Walraff, Ulrike Meinhof, Peter-Paul Zahl, Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Hans Modrow. For years he sought a reckoning with the legacy of the National Socialist juridical system, instituting, amongst others, proceedings aimed at clarifying the circumstances of the murder of Ernst Thälmann (leader of the German Communist Party in the 1920s and 1930s) and undertaking efforts to secure a retrial of the anti-fascist Carl von Ossietzky, who had been accused of treason by the Nazis.

Heinrich Hannover has published numerous books and essays. Together with Elisabeth Hannover-Drück, he wrote The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, and his book Politische Justiz 1918-1933 (Political Justice 1918-1933) is a authoritative work in the field. His recollections of his work as a lawyer, titled Die Republik vor Gericht (Republic in the Dock) is a critical examination of the history of the postwar German Federal Republic; it is valuable for all those interested in politics and history.

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Dear Ms. Sokoll,

The article incriminated by the intelligence services is very commendable. The practice of deportation which you criticise is scandalous and should in fact lead to the broadest protest in a liberally and democratically minded society.

Just recently, the Weser-Kurier of October 30 has published (page 3) the particularly outrageous case of a Kurdish-Lebanese woman who, together with her children who were brought up in Germany, has been deported back to Turkey to live in conditions of frightful poverty. Although reports are made of this and similar cases, there is little public reaction, and the officials who are responsible for such state-sanctioned acts of violence remain unhindered in office.

To my eyes, this represents a creeping form of fascism that is increasingly establishing itself in everyday life. An intelligence service that approves such practices makes clear what it stands for. The accusations levelled at you and your critical article correspond to this same attitude.

With best wishes for your further work.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Heinrich Hannover

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