Hans Litten Prize

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Awarded From

Democratic Lawyers of Germany

November, 2006
The Democratic Lawyers of Germany, along with the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, presented CCR President Michael Ratner with the Hans Litten Prize in recognition of his pioneering work on international human rights with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Lawyers for both East and West Germany agreed to name the country's bar association after Litten. In 1931, Litten was a 29-year-old lawyer who represented two workmen stabbed by Hitler's Nazi Storm Troopers. Litten grilled Hitler on the witness stand for two hours, and the Storm Troopers were convicted.

Hitler never forgot his embarassing cross-examination or Hans Litten. On the night of the Reichstag fire, February 28, 1933, the SS arrested Litten. He was considered an enemy of the state, and held in 'protective custody' without charge. For years he was transferred from camp to camp, from Spandau to Dachau, where he was tortured and subject to mock executions. After enduring five years of detention and torture, Litten committed suicide in 1939.