Murderous statistics

[15.02.2016] Emil Julius Gumbel has investigated 1920's politically motivated killings and noted that justice is blind in the right eye. More than 350 right-wing murders faced 20 left-wing extremists. Left-wing perpetrators were sentenced to death, while rights averaged only four months in prison. His book was burned by the Nazis, now it's back.

By Otto Langels

The justice of the Weimar Republic is said to have been "blind to the eye" and thus failed as a constitutional institution. Right-wing extremists would hardly have had anything to fear, while prosecutors and judges would rigorously prosecute and punish left-wing extremists. Emil Julius Gumbel, a young mathematician and statistician, has already substantiated this thesis in a list of political killings in the years 1922 through 1919. His research was published under the title "Four Years of Political Murder" and put his life on the line.

"The worker Piontek was on 12. March 1919, allegedly because he had refused to fire a soldier, arrested, and shot in Normans Street by the Private Knight and Sergeant Wendler. On the 31. January 1922 sentenced the jury court knight for attempted manslaughter with extenuating circumstances to 3 years in prison, Wendler was acquitted. "
The murder of the worker Piontek is one of several hundred cases listed by Emil Julius Gumbel in his work "Four Years of Political Murder". The Munich-born mathematician 1891 meticulously collected data and facts about all political violent crimes, from right to left. He described in detail the act, called, as far as known, the names of the murderers and clients as well as the criminal consequences. Gumbel took into account the circumstances of each murder from the years 1919 to 22:

"I've only taken cases where the shooting party did not claim it was attacked by the crowd."

Emil Julius Gumbel summed up the cases in tables. The result is depressing: 354 right-wing murders, mostly perpetrated by former soldiers and Free Corps personnel, face 22's left-wing murders. Even more frightening is the atonement of the crime. The courts imposed 10 death sentences on left-wing perpetrators, and in the other trials the average sentence was 15 years per murder, with right-wing killers averaging four months imprisonment.

"On the 10. March came to the young Kurt Friedrich, 16 years, his two friends Hans Galaska, 16 years, and Otto Werner, 18 years, in the apartment of the mother of Frederick to visit. The three young people had never dealt with politics. They were hardly together when eight government soldiers arrived on a denunciation. They declared the three young people arrested and executed them. After two terrible days of waiting Mrs. Friedrich found the three young friends in the morgue as dead again. There was no proceeding either against the teams involved or against the officers in charge. "

Although the Reich Ministry of Justice confirmed Gumbel's statements, his uproarious record was without consequences, not a single murderer was punished on the basis of Gumbel's research. 1924 summed up the mathematician's statistics in a bitter conclusion:

"It is officially confirmed that at least 1919 political killings have occurred in Germany since 400. It is officially confirmed that almost all were committed by right-wing extremists, and it is officially confirmed that the overwhelming number of these murders have gone unpunished. "

Before Emil Julius Gumbel provoked offense with his publication, the Social Democrat, an avowed opponent of war and pacifist, has already suffered the hatred of right-wing extremists: In March 1919, an officer of the Guards Cavalry Rifle Division shows up with ten armed men in his Berlin apartment to kill him to shoot as a "pest" by law. Gumbel is lucky, he is currently abroad. The soldiers ravage and then plunder his apartment. A year later, a radical right-wing mob struck him bloody during an assembly of the German peace society. Nevertheless, he publishes the statistics of political murders and risked his life.

1923 becomes Gumbel Privatdozent for Statistics at the University of Heidelberg, but soon he draws the wrath of right-wing students and conservative professors as he speaks at a peace meeting on the "field of dishonor". The University immediately institutes disciplinary proceedings against him, it ends well, but the faculty insists on calling it a "pronounced demagogic nature". When he suggests 1932 the figure of a turnip for a war memorial in May, the indignation is great, the University withdraws him immediately because of "unworthiness" the teaching authority. 1991 put the college to its 100. Birthday clear:

"The university acted wrongly and wronged when it excluded Gumbel."

Emil Julius Gumbel will be visiting professor in Paris that same year, and that may save his life as a Jew. 1933 burned the Nazis' books, including "Four Years of Political Murder." He himself is being expatriated.

"It's a great honor for me to get the first expatriation list because of my publications on the Black Reichswehr and the political murders."

He writes years later.

1940 flees Emil Julius Gumbel from the Nazis to the United States, where he laboriously lingers with teaching assignments. After the war, he would like to return to Germany, but at his old Heidelberg University, he is not welcome. Only the Free University of Berlin offers him a visiting professorship. When he dies 1966 in New York, no German newspaper honors him.

At the beginning of the 1920, Emil Julius Gumbel, with his "Four Years of Political Murder", pointed out the unrestrained murderous violence of the right wing. At the same time he drew attention to the failure of the judiciary and thus early named two causes for the subsequent failure of the Weimar Republic.

Emil Julius Gumbel: Four years of political murder.
Reprint of the original edition of 1922.
Publisher The Wunderhorn, Heidelberg, 1980. 360 pages, 12,80 Euro