Monday, November 30, 2009
The Gestapo had the authority to investigate treason, espionage and sabotage cases and cases of criminal attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany. The basic Gestapo law passed by the government in 1936 gave the Gestapo carte blanche to operate without judicial oversight. The Gestapo was specifically exempted from responsibility to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws. As early as 1935, however, a Prussian administrative court had ruled that the Gestapo's actions were not subject to judicial review. Werner Best, Himmler's right-hand man with the Gestapo, summed up this policy by saying, "As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally." A further law passed later in the year gave the Gestapo responsibility for setting up and administering concentration camps.