German Lawyer Ends Brief With Punchy National Socialist Conclusion

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I occasionally teach writing seminars for associates in our firm, and there are two or three rules I try to emphasize about the concluding section of a brief.

  • First, always end a brief with a real conclusion and not just something lame like "For the reasons stated above, we should win."
  • Second, the conclusion should be short, compelling and persuasive.
  • Third, and most importantly, it should not include the phrase "Heil Hitler."

Admittedly, you rarely see a brief that ends that way, but it does happen, as we learned from charges filed this week against German lawyer Sylvia Stolz.  Stolz has defended Ernst Zundel against charges of incitement that stemmed from Zundel’s insistence on denying that the Holocaust took place.  Zundel was convicted last month and sentenced to five years in prison, and this week prosecutors said they were going after Stolz too for her conduct in the first case.  Stolz is charged with incitement, obstruction of justice and using symbols of a banned organization (the Nazi Party).

Zundel had to be tried twice because Stolz got banned from the first trial for trying to sabotage the proceedings.   Her disfavored acts included repeated provocations, such as denouncing the court as a "tool of foreign domination" and describing the Jews as an "enemy people."  Though Stolz was banned, she refused to leave and had to be picked up and carried out of the courtroom, shouting, "Resistance!  The German people are rising up!"

Apparently, though, Stolz was the only German person who was rising up, and that was only because somebody picked her up and carried her out of the courtroom.

That case was also the one in which she added "Heil Hitler" to the conclusion of a legal document.  Stolz does not deny doing that or any of the other things she is charged with, but insists that they were legitimate tactics in her fight against an illegitimate government and occupying power (us, I guess).  "We are under foreign occupation," she said, "and this foreign occupation has portrayed Adolf Hitler as a devil for 60 years, but that is not true."  Actually, it’s more like 68 years — these Holocaust deniers can never get their facts straight.

Prosecutors said they hoped to prevent Stolz from working as a lawyer in the future.

Link: AP via