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Politik: Recht & Co.

Messed-up proceedings

Mr. Manfred Goensch, Chief Judge at Frankfurt District Court & President of the County Council

Chief Judge (“Vorsitzender Richter”) Gönsch (SPD)
Chief Judge (“Vorsitzender Richter”) Gönsch (SPD)
Currently, another piece is added to the history of law at the most important district court of the German Federal State Hessen in Frankfurt/Main. These proceedings started out as a defamation suit against a Jewish physician, Dr. Adam Poznanski, from Frankfurt in late summer 2012 and are now affecting even the Hessian ministry of Justice and politics in this Federal State.

One of the protagonists, Mr. Manfred Goensch, is a candidate for the Social Democratic Party in the elections taking place in the Federal State on 22 September 2013.

Currently, he holds the position of President of the County Council of the County Hochtaunus, near Frankfurt, and is a Chief Judge at Frankfurt District Court.

Member of Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union Ruprecht Polenz

The Frankfurt physician, Dr. Adam Poznanski, expressed his thoughts about the, in his opinion dubious, activities of a music teacher from the Rhineland in a social network and in his private blog. Irena W. presented herself as an allegedly Jewish voice and as such acted noticeably one-side and aggressive, polemizing against the State of Israel. In this, she combined forces with the Member of Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union Ruprecht Polenz from the city of Muenster, North Rhine-Westfalia, who is also President of the Broadcasting Commission of the German public television channel ZDF as well as president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Federal Parliament.

Ruprecht Polenz, CDU-MdB (2012)
Ruprecht Polenz, CDU-MdB (2012)
Together, and along with some other likeminded people, they are committed to a Waldorf kindergarten in Israel, contributing, in their opinion, to the peace process. In order to promote this project, the music teacher, Ms. W., founded a supportive association in Germany, which, she advertised on her website as “charitable” and claimed that donations would be tax-deductable. Because of the flair of the Frankfurt physician, who had noticed some discrepancies in the biography of the musician and poet, and because of his being personally affected – as a Jew and Israeli - the publicly conducted dispute took an especially sordid turn. The music teacher W. had always pleaded to be Jewish, with her dead father having been very religious and advisor of a rabbi. He had supposedly survived the Nazi regime in exile in England; her mother, however, had been a prisoner in the concentration camp in Auschwitz. Ms. W. herself allegedly lived in Israel for some time, served in the Israeli army and fought in the Lebanon war. She claims. that in the meantime she has become a “liberal Jew” and “anti-Zionistic”, a state of mind qualifying her in particular for her commitment in the Middle East. These allegations were all lies, as was to turn out soon. Neither were Ms. W.’s now dead parents Jews nor had she ever officially converted. No Jewish community would have been able to confirm her membership.

A serious risk for Dr. Poznanski and his family

On 3 December 2011, Ruprecht Polenz launched a campaign against the Jewish physician and several other people on his Facebook page, also mentioning their names. Before, only the Jewish physician’s initials had been published but now Mr. Polenz commented mentioning the full name on several occasions. This is a serious risk for Dr. Poznanski and his family, taking into account the “circle of friends” of Mr. Polenz, partly in an Arabic-terroristic environment. A grim verbal dispute took place on Mr. Polenz’s Facebook page regarding the issue of Ms. Irena W. in which Mr. Polenz eagerly censored and reprimanded each one of the many critical voices, up to such measures as blocking the commentary function. Four weeks before the Frankfurt physician had only made comments regarding Ms. W. and up to that moment never mentioned Ruprecht Polenz – a fact that was about to change. This was also the time when comments were made that lead to the complaint of an offence reported by the poet Ms. W. and by Ruprecht Polenz against the internal specialist.

Dr. med. Adam Poznanski
Dr. med. Adam Poznanski
On 29 October 2012, the Frankfurt prosecutor, Ms. Hoera, filed a lawsuit at Frankfurt District Court specifying seven different items.. These were meant to bring charges for approx. 60 possible cases of libel. In order to point out the extent of this case, we would like to let you know early on: even now, after three trial dates having taken place between 29 April and 14 May 2013, the libel suit (German Criminal Code para 185 and para 186) has not been settled. Prosecution itself has withdrawn five of seven items. using a very unusual legal gimmick for reasons of procedural economy. In addition, Ruprecht Polenz’s complaint is “nowhere to be found” in the files of Frankfurt prosecution.

An unknown spectator shouted at Dr. Poznanski him to “keep his gob shut”

One witness was dismissed because of an allegedly impending mental breakdown (apparent to no one but the judge) although defense still wanted to ask her many questions and protested the dismissal. Innumerable motions were filed to recuse the presiding judge – Judge at the District Court Mr. Biernath, who has retired meanwhile – however, they were all dismissed as being “unfounded”. During the trial, the right of speech was withdrawn from the defendant. When he asked the judge why he encumbered the questioning of witnesses by constantly commenting on their responses, an up to that moment unknown spectator accosted the accused Jewish physician, shouted at him to “keep his gob shut” and publicly threatened to beat him.

This is an overview – we would like to add that meanwhile several complaints were made against the judge, the prosecutor, the Member of Parliament, Mr. Polenz, and the witness, Ms. W., that disciplinary complaints were filed against two judges and two prosecutors, a complaint against Ruprecht Polenz was filed at the Ministry of Justice and charges were pressed against him for the suspicion of treason and for supporting a terrorist organization at the Federal Public Prosecutor in Karlsruhe. Charges were also pressed against music teacher, Ms. W., for suspicion of tax evasion because she may have misappropriated donations to her association and may also not have paid sales tax on those donations either – the money was taken abroad and therefore sales tax became applicable.

Mrs. Irena Wachendorff
Mrs. Irena Wachendorff
On 29 April 2013, the first of the three trial dates started a little slow because Judge Biernath prohibited the use of the technical means of defense admitted to the defendant beforehand. Therefore the defendant’s statement, interrupted again and again by the presiding judge, dragged on significantly. Only after lunch break, i.e. after more than three hours, it was possible to hear the first witness, the aforementioned music teacher, Ms. W., from Remagen.

It came as a surprise, however, that the judge, during the questioning by defense, did not allow precisely those important questions referring to the core of the complaint: Was Ms. W. Jewish or was she not? Because – if she is not a Jew it does not represent malicious libel to prove that she spread a deceptive Jewish biography – a fact for which the defendant used the term “dressed up as Jew (Kostümjude)”. The only “proof” she was able to present was an undated photography showing her as a schoolgirl wearing a necklace with a “Star of David” and a “statement” of a teacher only confirming, however, that Ms. W. told him she had Jewish ancestors. This appeared dubious even to Judge Biernath who was otherwise quite partial to the witness.

All in all, the proceedings were characterized by some adventurous events: The defendant was threatened several times with being arrested for contempt of court; spectators were asked why they were taking notes; the judge answered questions the defense had asked the witness and similar legally precarious incidents. Another highlight, causing blatant amusement among the audience, was a situation when the prosecutor all of a sudden started addressing the accused Jew with the informal German “du”. At least he apologized for it after having been asked to do so by the judge several times. As the second trial date on 2 May 2013 continued the same way no result come off it either.

Dr. Poznanski would have to be examined by a psychiatrist

Proceedings were continued on 14 May 2013, on the Day of Independence of the State of Israel (14 May 1948) of all days, as Dr Adam Poznanski observed derisively, and it logically ended in a public scandal. On the one hand, defense found fault in the fact that, during breaks, the judge talked to the witness and its solicitor and on the other hand, the right of speech had been withdrawn from the defendant. This caused further challenges on grounds of bias – that were all rejected – and also lead to a situation in which the defendant had to ask his questions via his counsel of defense who then in turn asked the witness. Four more hours of the proceedings passed this way. After lunch break, the witness Ms. W. was dismissed because, according to the court, the music teacher suffered from mental fatigue, a course of action defense protested against. Beforehand, she had admitted all her lies about her alleged Jewish background and alleged Jewish identity in the witness stand. Judge Biernath then declared that the defendant would have to be examined by a psychiatrist in order to clarify whether he could be “held criminally liable” at all.

At this stage of the trial a then unknown spectator shouted at Dr. Poznanski, severely disregarding both the court and the Code of Criminal Procedure, telling him to finally “keep his gob shut” and threatening the Jewish physician with beating him up in the hallway. Meanwhile it has become known that this spectator was a colleague of Presiding Judge Biernath, the Social Democratic candidate for the parliamentary elections in Hesse, Manfred Goensch. Parts of the audience had the impression that proceedings were in their entirety a stitch up, because neither the judge nor the prosecutor called the agitator to order or stopped him and Judge Biernath, Judge Goensch and Prosecutor Dr Suess had been seen in lively discussion before.

The damage done to the reputation of Hessian justice is probably enormous

The case itself has now reached a judicial dead end as according to the Code of Criminal Proceedings only allows for an interruption of trial of up to three weeks; this term has long since passed. Judge Biernath has retired; the assigned psychiatric expert never contacted the defendant. This means that this absurd case will most probably have to be started anew. It would be wise of prosecution to plead for acquittal.

Dead End
Dead End
However, the damage done to the reputation of Hessian justice is probably enormous. It will remain a secret how prosecution could come to think it would be possible, supported by a false “Jew”, now convicted of lying, to accuse a real Jew for alleged “libel” which mainly consisted of unmasking the false “Jew” und on top of everything conduct such a lawsuit in the name of the German people.

Convenience translation ©Adam Poznanski of an article written by ©Kay Lorey 24-08-2014



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Schlüsselwörter: Gönsch | Poznanski | Dienstaufsichtsbeschwerde | Frankfurt | Polenz
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