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a summary courts to the killing by members of the Marburg Student Corps of arrested workers immediately called into question the nature of justice under the new disposition and stirring up students’ hostility towards the young Weimar Republic, to the benefit of no one. For Germany’s post-war legal systems, the pressing issue was whether the Reich had been destroyed on 8 May 1945 or whether it had in fact continued to exist. My solution was to examine the new jurisdictions. The consensus immediately after the war was the Reich had survived the unconditional surrender as a state;however, not as a state capable of acting on its own. Its powers were assumed by the occupying forces. My findings showed that this had not been the only possible solution – although it did have the virtue of being enforceable – but that German jurists, and later the Allies’ jurists, preferred it because it speedily solved the country’s acute legal problems. Neither had the advocates of the continuity theory ignored the reality of the complete breakdown. They merely succeeded in rising above the contradictions between reality and legal intention by using legal fictions familiar to any jurist. After a research report in which I surveyed the implications for legal science of penal unlaw in the Third Reich, I later conducted my own analysis of the sources to demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of penal law under ‘state unlaw’, examining the mental and physical cost to those it was imposed on. Similarly, given the prompt publication of the sources for the early history of the Bonn Republic made it possible use the states’ constitutions and the Federal Basic Law to shed light on this new form of statehood, an opportunity legal historians were not slow to use, it struck me as a useful exercise to summarize the state of the art in a research report, which I later repeated in 1991. I have often taken a variety of approaches to the historical dimensions of the law.To mark the University of Frankfurt’s 75th anniversary in 1989 I chose to study three legal historians associated with the law faculty and their attitudes to the law under the Nazis. Heinrich Mitteis (1889–1952) managed to cling on in Rostock thanks to his nationalist leanings and influential friends in Berlin, although he never came out in support of the regime. Franz Beyerle (1885–1977), who continued to work while in an 63