Eberhardt Karl Schoengarth (also sometimes presented as Schongarth), born in 1903, was a German lawyer and law professor. His name forever stains the roster of those who profess to a greater knowledge of the law in order to facilitate justice and fairness in their communities.

Schoengarth not only had a law degree but also a doctorate of law. It was as "Doctor Schoengarth" that he was referred to as professor of law at Leibinitz University in Germany, even while Adolf Hitler was foaming at the mouth, in the mid 1930s, pushing his satanic verses entitled Mein Kampf, with his one of thousands of moral toddlers in tow, Heirich Himmler.

Unfortunately for mankind, Hitler was also the leader of a fascist government that had taken over Germany. Possibly, as we will never get to ask Eberhardt Schoengarth the question, Shoengarth's enthusiasm to join the Nazi party may have been similar to the reasons later given by many of his Gestapo cohorts at their 1945 Nuremberg trials: that he sincerely believed that Hitler's fascism was the only way to stop the onslaught of communism from overrunning his beloved Germany.

And, apparently, even if that meant war crimes and specifically genocide on the German-Jewish people and others, what the Nazis thought to be inhumans, such as the gypsies, communists, homosexuals and handicapped people, not just of Germany but as soon as they were on location, those of conquered territories.

Schoengarth relinquished his professorship to join the Nazi party early in the war, and was assigned to the Standardtenfuhrer-SS, a para-military division of the Schultzstaffel (aka, the SS).

Eberhardt Karl SchoengarthIn his chilling and unavoidably disturbing book The Blood of His Servants, British author Malcolm McPherson notes that law professor Schoengarth was married to a schoolteacher and had a son and a daughter, his son Ermuth Schoengarth later dying on the battlefield as a soldier in the Nazi army. Dr. Schoengarth regularly attended church, all before he attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler. Himmler, it must forever be remembered, was, if not the brains, the organizer behind the round-up and network of concentration camp deaths of some six-million European Jews, gypsies, homosexual and other undesirables during the second world war. In Schoengarth, Hitler and Himmler  found a bright, enthusiastic solicitor who could breath a semblance of legality onto his and Hitler's genocidal machinations.

Schoengarth was also reliable and so, administratively, very useful. He was sent to Poland once it was overrun, to oversee the round-up and killing not only of Jews but of any other living soul that by his whim and fancy or for that matter, the whim and fancy of the random and lawless Nazi executioner, any living soul that was deemed to not be an asset to Nazi-Germany.

At the infamous Nazi Wannsee Policy Conference of January 1942, Schoengarth was the legal guidance, the hand of the law readily inventing legal terms and a semblance of law to the process of genocide, which, admittedly, is not just an oxymoron but a combination of terms that should give any lawyer pause. The process of killing Jews and other unwanted souls was sorted out in a nice neat code of legal terms created by Schoengarth, such as säuberung.

If ever there was a single legal word that should be condemned for all time and not mouthed again by human beings, it is this word. It means and refers to an official and overt government policy of racial cleansing.

Back in Poland, Schoengarth was an active participant as a thief and collector of pieces of art stolen from the homes of evicted and murdered Jewish owners. His preference was apparently ancient Chinese porcelain. As the second most important Nazi official in occupied Poland, he eventually amassed a treasure trove of this stolen art.

In his day job, his record and indeed, his signature, shifted and moved the Nazi machine, especially that of the Gestapo in their genocidal actions east of the homeland. One of his great friends was a Dutch art collector and Nazi-of-convenience, Pieter Menten, who organized and even participated in the mass murder of Jewish men women and children in the village of Podhorodse, in the far western reaches of Poland on July 7, 1941, shot one by one over an open pit they had previously been forced to dig. Menten was a hoarder and trader of stolen art who would readily kill any Jewish person who stood in his way of this art, including works by Picassos and Da Vincis.

According to McPherson, at one point during the war, Schoengarth took beaming and proud pleasure to announce to a social gathering of Nazi officers and their families in Poland, of "momentous" news from Berlin, which was then toasted and celebrated by the group:

"... that the decision had been made to kill all categories of people ... Without investigation and without pity... Women and children to be slain with the men."

Schoengarth followed through on the letter of this "law", with the organization of Nazi cleansing squads carefully organized by territory. While we can write of these events in a detached way, some several decades later, the fact remains that these horrible and numerous cold killings of innocent people, were calculated decisions made by human beings and exacted upon other human beings, all under the moral and administrative encouragement and guidance of a German lawyer.

Always the good Standardtenfuhrer officer, Schoengarth was transferred to Holland in 1944. Even there, the business of Nazism awaited and found a willing hand. When, in March 1945, Nazi General Hans Albin Rauter was ambushed and almost killed by the Dutch resistance, Schoengarth contrived and implemented a reprisal. 260 Dutch citizens were shot dead.

As a result, in many ways, of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the great military power of the United States was shocked into the war and began an unstoppable mobilization effort off the stepping stone of the British Islands. Once the allies successfully landed on the European continent and started their march toward Berlin, as the Russians were marching through Poland in the same direction, many Nazi officers including Eberhardt Schoengarth began to run and hide, like rats leaving a burning building.

Apparently, Schoengarth met with Hitler in March 1945 and Hitler told him that the German war machine could still win the war because he had "secret weapons", likely the V-2 rockets, a few of which did land in London:

"A fleet of long-range bombers meant to destroy the New York City skyline. A 1,000-ton tank said to be the largest ever designed. A radio-guided bomb with a success rate 80 times higher than that of its rivals m(were) weapons in Adolf Hitler's fantasy arsenal."1

After the suicide of Hitler and the surrender of the German state in 1945, Schoengarth stoically held up in a Gestapo holdout in the Hague to be apprehended, where a Canadian soldier found him. He was detained and sent to Amsterdam for trial.

Schoengarth may have once it had a doctorate of law but he was not the sharpest tool in the classroom when it came to being a defendant in a war crime proceedings where a noose loomed. He insisted on wearing his Gestapo uniform even while in prison and he declined the offer of a lawyer.

At his trial, and again according to MacPherson's book,:

"The president of the court had asked him, 'If you received an order from Hitler or Himmler that you were to disregard the rights of prisoners of war, would you as a doctor of law have felt bound to obey that or not?'"

What the judge had thrown out at  Schoengarth was a unique variation of the defense of superior orders, that Schoengarth was acting as a military officer in accordance with orders he had received and could not therefore be personally held criminally liable for those actions.

But Schoengarth, it seemed, had become through and through evil or just resigned to his fate. He replied, "as a doctor of law":

"I would have had to carry out this order, has an order has to be carried out even if it cancels any existing laws."

And then he felt obliged to add this to the Court record: that he was proud of his service as a Nazi and as a Gestapo officer.

He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging which was carried out on May 15, 1946.

Researching and relating the life of this monster and even editing his photograph can easily be dismissed as a waste of the heartbeats of a good soul. However, as has been reflected upon by many true sages of the law over the centuries, it is important that we remember not just the celebration of heroes of the law, but also the grievous errors and anomalies upon our way if we are to be sure that we recognize and do not repeat those errors especially because we have no record of the Schoenagarths.

Consider the opening words of the American prosecutor, Robert Jackson, at Nuremberg, November 21, 1945:

"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated."

Whatever role Eberhardt Schoengarth had to play in the grander schemes things, the legal history of the world, is, for those that seek exactitude and precision, impossible to pinpoint. But how could a lawyer, after all, first as he must have been familiar with, if not a teacher of the legal philosophy from the American Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Being such a proponent of crimes so egregious that it almost defies the written word, Eberhardt Karl Sheongoarth was by any measure, a monster of the law.

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