Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2004


In the 1920s courtroom reportage became an important journalistic genre in the 1920s as leftist and liberal reporters filed into the halls of justice and analyzed what they saw and heard there in order to expose the injustices of a judicial system that had not embraced the liberal republic. Paul Schlesinger, who wrote under the pseudonym Sling, along with his colleagues Carl von Ossietzky, Kurt Tucholsky, Gabrielle Tiergit wrote of the sensational and the mundane, the political and the everyday cases, all of which provided the basis for social commentary and political criticism. Some have argued that the eagerness of these journalists to criticize the German judicial system helped to foster a “crisis of confidence” in the German judiciary - a factor that contributed to the undermining of Weimar democracy. Others, like Claudia Schönigh, have argued that the reportage of Sling and others offered constructive suggestions for the liberalization of the German justice system and that these suggestions remained unheeded by an intransigent judiciary.


This peer-reviewed manuscript was originally published in German as "Das Gewissen von Moabit" in the journal MESSAGE - Internationale Fachzeitschrift fur Journalismus, vol. 1, 2004.