The present study by Klaus Volkmann explores the question of whether there was any determinable influence of National Socialist ideology on jurisdiction in church matters during the Third Reich. The
author’s inquiry is based on all published decisions that state courts issued in legal proceedings involving church or religious concerns. The perspective from which Volkmann makes sense of these
myriad decisions, which occurred in widely varying fields of law, is that of the constitutional guarantees laid out in the Weimar constitution’s »church articles.«
As Volkmann demonstrates, his thesis question must be answered in the affirmative at a fundamental level, although subject to differentiation in individual cases. The author sees the judiciary’s
unresisting reception of Nazism’s totalitarian conception of the state as the main causal factor, rather than any inherent anti-church tendencies.
Volkmann’s study makes an important contribution to research into the tense relationship between the Nazi state and the churches. It also illuminates once more the fact
that despite the courts’ traditional self-image of neutrality, jurisdiction is actually dependent to a high degree on political conditions.