Fritz Bauer in seinem Arbeitszimmer in Frankfurt, 1965
Permanent exhibition

Fritz Bauer. District Attorney

Prosecuting Nazi Crimes

The exhibition of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt and the Fritz Bauer Institute presents Fritz Bauer –meanwhile better known from a number of films on him– to a broader public for the first time. In 2021, the exhibition can be seen at the Topography of Terror in Berlin.

Since May 2023, the traveling exhibition has been available in its entirety in digital form.

Fritz Bauer in his office. Photo: Günter Schindler

Die Ausstellung in Frankfurt

Fritz Bauer in seinem Arbeitszimmer, Frankfurt 1965
Fritz Bauer in seinem Arbeitszimmer, Frankfurt 1965 © fotografie stefan moses, München

Fritz Bauer was one of the most influential returned Jewish emigrants in post-war Germany. As district attorney for the state of Hesse who initiated the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, he has gone down in the annals of German Federal Republic history.

His life was subject to the upheavals of the 20th century. The exhibition documents the story of his life as reflected in historical events that personally affected him as well. Although as a Jew Fritz Bauer was not spared anti-Semitism, as a Social Democrat, he nonetheless believed societal progress to be possible. However, the Nazis drove him into 13 years of exile. While serving as district attorney, he revolutionised the traditional image of that position; the focus was no longer on the citizen’s obedience to the State. Bauer always considered himself to be an advocate of human dignity, and above all, an opponent of state violence – a major step forward in democratisation in the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibition was organised under the patronage of Federal President Joachim Gauck and in cooperation with the Fritz Bauer Institute and the Thuringian Ministry of Justice.

It is sponsored by the Polytechnic Foundation of Frankfurt am Main, the Hamburg Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Culture, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Hessian Ministry of Justice, the university foundation Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung, the journalism foundation FAZIT-Stiftung, and by Christiane and Nicolaus Weickert.

Fritz Bauer on the defendants’ lack of regret in the Auschwitz trials, in the Heute Abend Kellerclub TV programme, Hessischer Rundfunk 1964

The world would heave a big sigh of relief. I believe Germany would heave a big sigh of relief, as would the whole world and the survivors of those who perished in Auschwitz. And the air would be cleared if a human word were finally uttered. It has not been uttered and will no longer be uttered.