From Berlin-Lichtenberg to Recklinghausen –Obedience to the law versus education of the heart

“Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience”

A retired police officer from Germany, son and grandson of Survivors of the Shoa, has written an open letter on behalf of Dr. Heinrich Habig, MD, who received a prison sentence for “doing no harm”.


Do the names Ida Jauch, Emma Harndt and Maria Schönebeck mean anything to you? If so, it would probably be due to the fact that you had once read the book “Two Lives in Germany” by Hans Rosenthal or had once been to the memorial plaque dedicated to the legendary radio and television presenter and the three women mentioned in the Berlin-Lichtenberg neighborhood of Fennpfuhl. At least the older ones among us might very well remember Hans Rosenthal. But now, where is the connection between him, the three women, Berlin-Lichtenberg and the city of Recklinghausen? Well, this is the city where the physician Dr. Heinrich Habig practiced until not so long ago. And Dr. Habig was recently sentenced in Bochum to two years and ten months imprisonment. But let’s look at it one by one …

The courage of three women who ensured Hans Rosenthal’s survival

Hans Rosenthal, a Jew born in 1925, and his younger brother Gert lost their parents at an early age. Both were sent to an orphanage. Hans Rosenthal had to do forced labor for the National Socialists starting in 1940. Gert was deported and did not survive the Nazi period.

Hans, too, was threatened with deportation by train to a concentration camp with death looming for certain. In his distress, he sought out his grandparents who were still alive. Rosenthal wrote in his book, among other things: “Hansi, my grandmother said, you can’t stay with us. If grandfather were not Jewish, but so … the Gestapo can be here any day today or tomorrow. Many Jewish people are no longer sleeping at home at night (…). They pick them up one by one. You have to leave, Hansi.” The grandmother advised the boy to ask the seamstress Frau Jauch if she could take him in, because after all she had a good heart, was pious and hated the Nazis.

On March 27, 1943, Hans Rosenthal stood at the door of Ida Jauch in the allotment garden collective “Dreieinigkeit” in Lichtenberg. “I need to go into hiding, Mrs. Jauch. Gert has already been taken away. We never heard from him again. I wanted to ask if you could perhaps take me in and hide me.” Her answer: “You can stay with me, Hansi. (…)” She quartered him in a back room of her garden shed. The room, only four square meters in size, had a wallpaper door that was not recognizable as such from the outside. The shed had a window the size of a handkerchief. Inside the room was a mattress, a chair, a table and a night set. Although the meager food rations were barely enough for one person, Mrs. Jauch shared with the boy. If others in the colony had learned that Mrs. Jauch was secretly hiding a Jew, it could have had fatal consequences for her as well. She only confided in one person about the hiding place for Hans, and that was Emma Harndt. Her husband was a Communist and had already been deported to a concentration camp in 1935. He was later released and was then good enough to fight for Germany as a soldier at the front. Mrs. Harndt was able to provide some support for Mrs. Jauch and Hans. After a year, Mrs. Jauch unexpectedly became seriously ill and died. Mrs. Harndt could not take Hans in because she herself was under observation. In his despair, Hans remembered that a neighbor in the garden community was also an opponent of the Nazis. In the darkness he left his hiding place, sought out Mrs. Maria Schönebeck and asked if he could stay with her. “All right, you stay with me. You don’t have to turn yourself in. I will give you shelter.” In her arbor, the now 18-year-old lodged for another year.

In their own special way, each of the three women made it possible for young Hans Rosenthal to survive. Ida Jauch and Maria Schönebeck not only suffered even more hunger because of their guest, but also faced the danger of being imprisoned themselves or deported to a concentration camp.

On April 25, 1945, Berlin-Lichtenberg was taken by the Red Army. For Hans Rosenthal, this day meant liberation.

In his memoirs, published in 1982, Rosenthal wrote:

When I look back on my life today, it was these three women from the ” Dreieinigkeit ” colony – Mrs. Jauch, Mrs. Schönebeck and Mrs. Harndt – whose help has made it possible for me to this day to live in Germany without prejudice after this terrible time for us Jewish people, to feel myself a German, to be a citizen of this country without hatred. Because these women had dared to risk their lives to save me. I was not related to them. They had not known me at all or had known me only briefly. They could have been indifferent to me. But they were good and just people (…).

It is precisely these stories of people who can guide us because they did not bow to the Zeitgeist. Rightly, commemorative plaques are installed for such brave people, streets, squares and schools are named after them, they are mentioned in reports, books, documentaries, etc. We are not only called upon to honor their memory, but also to observe current developments in the spirit they had shown, attentively and vigilantly. Freedom and an observing mind wear out if they are not used intensively.

Covid, the actions of the physician Dr. Heinrich Habig, and the criminal trial against him

With the beginning of the Corona crisis in the spring of 2020, those who obtained information from outside the mainstream media and political circles suspected that something was wrong. It was officially said there would be a focus on developing vaccines against Covid as quickly as possible in order to vaccinate the global population. But who was actually benefiting from this?

When I was still in elementary school, I had already been inoculated by my parents –with the sentence “The stronger advertising and propaganda are, the greater your distrust must be!” This maxim has stuck with me to this day. Should I have had any doubts about my distance from the vaccines on offer, my family doctor dispelled them by saying, “We’ll stand in line way back and first will wait and see!”

In June 2023, the physician Dr. Heinrich Habig, who has his family practice in the town of Recklinghausen, was sentenced by the Bochum Regional Court to two years and ten months imprisonment. The reason for this: The doctor is alleged to have issued around 600 fake health certificates during the Corona crisis. Although vaccination certificates were issued, patients were not injected by him. Among the beneficiaries were nursing staff who could only perform their work with a vaccination certificate.

According to reporting, a female doctor had learned of the activities of her colleague and reported the case to the police. Police then searched both the practice and the home of the doctor and his wife, confiscating patient records, vaccines and computers. The doctor’s office remained closed after this.

It is worth listening to or reading through Dr. Habig’s detailed statement. Then one will understand his outstanding professional competence, his reasonable doubts about the official Corona announcements as well as his profound compassion towards his patients, who had turned to him in their distress. The doctor had helped his patients, who were in distress due to various life situations, from an ethical standpoint. And Dr. Habig suspected that the C vaccinations could cause significant side effects.

This physician obviously violated legal regulations. But the question arises whether a so-called criminal energy was evident in his actions. This should always be examined as an element in the prosecutorial investigation. For prosecutor Nina Linnenbank, the doctor’s testimony was apparently no reason to refrain from prosecuting and to ultimately plead for a conviction at trial.

In the verdict, Judge Breywisch-Lepping said there were no grounds to excuse Dr. Habig’s behavior. Instead, she accused him, according to the information available to me, of having an ” attitude hostile to the law.” A justifying emergency, which attorney Schmitz invoked to justify Dr. Habig’s actions, was fundamentally inadmissible against any laws, she said. And that the patients with the incorrect immunization passports wanted to circumvent a de facto obligation to be vaccinated, did not hold water for judge Breywisch-Lepping. They should have taken legal action and sued against the state policies.

Now I have begun my remarks with a description of an extraordinary incident from a past which despised and destroyed human beings. No, I do not equate the events from 1943 to 1945 with those during the Corona time! But I am looking at mechanisms of how ostracisms work, how people can be manipulated, pushed and intimidated. There certainly can be bad laws and regulations.

The Basic Law differentiates in Article 20 (3) GG between law and justice, to which the three partial powers are bound. Every future lawyer is taught this right at the beginning of his studies, in connection with the theses of Gustav Radbruch, among others. In 1946, in an essay on “Statutory Lawlessness and Supra-Statutory Law”, he formulated, among other things, that positive law must be measured in terms of Justice. In principle, positive law is entitled to expect compliance; if it contradicts justice in an intolerable way, it is broken. If justice has been generally disregarded in the making of law, the written words have never amounted to law. In this case, supra-legal justice has to take the place of legal injustice. Whether Radbruch’s theses could have been applied in the trial against Dr. Habig is certainly legally debatable. At least, in my opinion, it would have been necessary to discuss it in this case in order to arrive at an appropriate finding of what is right.

One description of the doctor in particular is so moving in terms of humanity that it literally calls for disobedience:

“A very young mother suddenly came to my office without an appointment, crying and barely able to speak, so upset was she. After she had composed herself, she told me that 48 hours ago she had given birth to her healthy newborn in the hospital, and today she had only been to her apartment for an hour to get something for the baby. ‘Now I am not allowed to return to the hospital to see my baby because I’m not vaccinated,’ she sobbed.”

— Dr. Rudolf Habig, testimony in court

It is precisely in a situation of such quality that “heart-formation” is needed, and action must be guided by it to the extent of one’s own possibilities. And this is where we are at the point of asking how Mrs. Jauch, Mrs. Harndt and Mrs. Schönebeck would have acted had they been in the place of Dr. Habig? And to go even further: Would they, have reported the allegedly legally prohibited actions of a colleague from Recklinghausen to the police or the public prosecutor’s office, like the female doctor did, and, maybe, to the medical association? And would any of the three women, if they were alive today and were public prosecutors or judges, also have investigated Dr. Habig so rigorously and then made the corresponding plea for a conviction, or would they have sentenced him?

Obedience to the law always includes an element of doubt combined with the consideration of a higher-order construct. This includes a look at the individual human being in connection with an investigation of the motives for his or her actions. The mere enforcement of laws and regulations for their own sake is prohibited by aspects of the principle of proportionality. And, as is well known, this principle has constitutional status.

Dr. Heinrich Habig put it this way for his case:

“The physician must orient his actions to the welfare of the patient; in particular, he must not place the interests of third parties above the welfare of the patient. If I am criminalized because I have helped people, then that is the price one has to pay for defending humanity.”

— Dr. Heinrich Habig

Perhaps the woman doctor, who is not known to me by name, the public prosecutor Linnenbank and the judge Breywisch-Lepping will someday realize which human Greatness was in the name of the people put on trial here in Bochum. For Dr. Habig may very well be mentioned in the very same breath as Ida Jauch, Emma Harndt and Maria Schönebeck. In The Captain of Köpenick, the cobbler Wilhelm Voigt says that “first comes man, and then comes the human order”. Or to quote, in addition, George Washington : “Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience.” Perhaps in distant days a street will be named after Dr. Heinrich Habig and a memorial plaque unveiled for him. Today I hope at least for state justice for this doctor.

Thomas Willi Völzke
Police Officer (ret.)
Son and Grandson of Survivors of the Shoa

Originally published by Never Again Is Now Global

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