Romanian students participate in simulated trial against Nazi leader
A delegation of 12 students is representing Romania in the simulated trial of Ernst Rüdin (1874-1952), author of the "racial hygiene" legislation, promoter of the Nazi program of forced sterilization, and a pioneer in the field of genetic research into the origins of mental illness.
The International Mock Trial on Human Rights is organized by the Social Excellence Forum, an Israeli organization dedicated to training young leaders in the spirit of moral values and human rights. The trial is held under the auspices of the UN, as part of the Holocaust Communication Program. This program consists of a series of events organized annually by the United Nations with the goal of raising awareness among the public about the crimes of the Nazi regime and its allies.
All Romanian students participating come from the Laude-Reut Educational Complex, a private pre-university education institution in Romania. The trial will take place at the UN headquarters on January 31. Romania’s representatives will be joined by approximately 30 other students between the ages of 15 and 22 from around the world.
Participants were selected after a two-year process based on their contribution to combating anti-Semitism and the activities they carried out on the subject of the Holocaust. In the trial, young participants will divide into teams of "prosecutors" and "defenders" and will present their arguments to an internationally renowned jury of judges.
The event is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Education and is carried out in collaboration with various institutions such as the Israeli Embassy in the US, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada), the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the Supreme Court of Israel, and the Weizmann Institute for Science.
This year, Romania has the largest delegation in any edition of the program.
"We are deeply honored and excited about this unique achievement in the history of Romanian education," says Tova Ben Nun-Cherbis, founder and president of the Laude-Reut Educational Complex. "This result confirms once again that our institution is a true national leader in education in fields such as contemporary history, foreign languages, and social studies, along with extracurricular activities such as diplomacy and international relations."
The "Humanity vs. Professor Ernst Rüdin" trial has been prepared for two years through documentary research and the drafting of scenarios presented to students from around the world. Issues such as human rights and violations thereof, racism and discrimination, and the responsibility of leaders for the consequences of their incitement and actions will be debated in the trial. Five judges have formulated the indictment: forced sterilization, racism, serious violations of human rights and the rights of persons with disabilities, human experimentation, and the commission of acts of mass murder.
Ernst Rüdin was the director of the German Institute of Psychiatric Research, president of the German Society of Racial Hygiene, and co-author of the Nazi legislation on "racial hygiene," which made forced sterilization and involuntary euthanasia possible. Over 400,000 people were forcibly sterilized and approximately 300,000 patients in psychiatric institutions were killed during the Nazi regime, 70,000 of them in gas chambers.
Promoters of "racial hygiene," including Rüdin, played a significant role in the Holocaust, in which Jews, Roma, Slavic, and colored populations, as well as people with physical or intellectual disabilities, became victims.
Students will reenact the trial in a local format in April 2023, at the 14th edition of the 2Day Ambassador international diplomatic conference organized by the Laude-Reut Educational Complex at the Romanian Parliament.
(Photo source: Laude-Reut Educational Complex)