The advent of the Nazi regime challenged the thinking of the Jewish Social Democrats Ernst Fraenkel and Franz Neumann. Law partners and intellectual companions in the Weimar Republic, they anguished about how to resist the new regime and justify that resistance. Nothing foretold that they would think about anti-Nazi resistance in terms of natural law, with its largely religious underpinnings and often reactionary uses. But despite their new and changed circumstances—Neumann left Germany in April 1933, while Fraenkel remained until September 1938—both men did turn to natural law. Fraenkel invoked it in his classic, The Dual State, as a unifying principle for anti-Nazi resistance, and Neumann explored it in his classic, Behemoth, and other writings before, during, and after the war, as critical for understanding the rule of law. Treading cautiously around its religious and reactionary tendencies, both men probed natural law as a concept for defying tyranny.
Douglas G. Morris; Write and Resist: Ernst Fraenkel and Franz Neumann on the Role of Natural Law in Fighting Nazi Tyranny. New German Critique 1 November 2015; 42 (3 (126)): 197–230. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-3137069
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