Helsinki Legal History Series: Moritz Vormbaum 27.2.2024

We warmly welcome you to join the Helsinki Legal History Series Lecture with Moritz Vormbaum on 27.2.2024

When: Tuesday, 27 Februrary 2024, 3:00pm - 4:30pm (UTC+2).

Where: Porthania, P673. You can also join us online via Zoom:

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Meeting ID: 656 8614 8295
Passcode: 012861

Title: ‘A Legal Instrument of the Political Power of the Working Class’ - The Criminal Law of the German Democratic Republic

Abstract: Today, more than 30 years after the German unification, not much is known about the criminal law of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). This is surprising, for the fact alone that, in 1968, the GDR enacted a new overall codification of criminal law – something that from 1871 until today no other German government has managed to do. In addition, a study of GDR criminal law gives us insights of the criminal law in an authoritarian regime based on socialist ideology. The presentation will give an overview of the development of substantive criminal law in East Germany from 1945 to 1990. Moreover, it will analyse the role of the judiciary and the Ministry for State Security in practice. Finally, it sketches a pattern of interpretation of GDR criminal law.


This seminar is part of the Helsinki Legal History Series in collaboration with the CoCoLaw project. In 2024 the Helsinki Legal History Series runs under the theme of "Identities and Legal Histories". We are focusing on the questions of how have collective identities shaped law, and how has law been used to affect, change or protect common identities? Does law recognize marginalized identities or is the history of law a narrative of exclusion?