Göttingen / Berlin. The Hans Litten Archive pays tribute to the great merit of the filmmakers of “Babylon Berlin” for drawing the attention of millions of people to the committed left-wing lawyer Hans Litten for the first time in the history of the Federal Republic – and in an excellent manner.
Dr. Nikolaus Brauns, chairman of the Hans-Litten-Archiv eV, explains:
“On October 14th, the 22nd episode of the popular TV series“ Babylon Berlin ”was broadcast on ARD. Between the minutes 13.24 – 15.31 you can see an instructive presentation from the work of the Red Aid in 1929. From the long shot, the camera first shows us the office of the “Litten law firm – Rote Hilfe Berlin-Schöneberg”, which is full of files. Then three actors appear in this scene, one of whom is Hans Litten, played by Trystan Pütter. Wikipedia informs us about this in the entry for the film series: “Lawyer of the“ Red Aid ”. The figure is based on Hans Achim Litten, who was known as the “advocate of the proletariat” and opponent of the Nazi regime; Driven to death in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938. “(https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_Berlin#Nebenrollen)
“What would that cost, how much …?”
The scene shows how the criminal assistant “Charlotte Richter”, played by Liv Lisa Fries, visits Comrade Litten in his office with the intention of soliciting legal assistance for her imprisoned friend “Greta Overbeck”. Overbeck has been sentenced to death for helping in a bomb attack on a high representative of the Weimar Republic, carried out by the Nazis. In the criminal trial she accused the communists of this crime under the pressure of blackmailing the head of the political police in Berlin.
Without introducing herself in her professional position, the detective assistant “Charlotte Richter” informs Hans Litten that there is “recently a trace of the possible perpetrators” of this act. Comrade Litten waves his hand here, the statement is enough for him: “Apparently the verdict was politically wanted!”
“What can you do? I ask because …”
Comrade Litten, sitting at the desk, answers her with an open look: “What can you do? I ask because I assume that they have no idea what the Red Aid is ”.
Detective assistant “Richter” replies slightly helplessly: “No.”
Comrade Litten lights a cigarette and then explains the tasks of the Red Aid as follows: “We provide legal aid for the underprivileged. For workers, for the unemployed. We advise people. We represent them in court. We fight for these people and help them to do something that is due to them: namely to their rights! “
“Charlotte Richter”, shown as listening attentively, looks impressed, smiles and nods in agreement.
In the further course of the scene, Litten points to another important aspect of the self-image of the Red Aid: “We are a volunteer organization.” And so the scene ends well for the time being: Comrade Litten tells the friend of “Greta Overbeck” that he “will represent this one way or the other, regardless of payment.” Detective assistant “Richter” confirms this with a smile, relieved with the word: “Deal!” End of scene.
… and “not even the bean” extremist
The Red Aid lawyer, Hans Litten, is portrayed in Babylon Berlin as what he has always been: open and personable, unprejudiced to those seeking help, well-informed, extraordinarily committed and “not even the bean” extremist. The fact that at the end of this scene he asks the detective assistant to work as a shorthand typist for RH can only be explained by the fact that “Charlotte Richter” doesn’t quite play with open cards here.
We named our archive association, founded in 2006, on the history of solidarity organizations of the workers’ movement and social movements after Hans Litten in order to keep alive the memory of this courageous Red Aid lawyer and anti-fascist. In his last weeks in office as President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in 2018, Hans-Georg Maaßen arranged for the Hans-Litten-Archive to be listed in the report for the protection of the Constitution as an “extremist group” that pursues “anti-constitutional goals”. As an independent and recognized non-profit association, we are falsely marked as the “structure” of Rote Hilfe eV ”. Our archive association is also mentioned in this year’s report for the protection of the constitution for 2019. Such an entry in the constitution protection report endangers our scientific cooperation with other institutions such as universities. In addition, being mentioned in the report for the protection of the constitution threatens to withdraw our non-profit status, as happened to the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime / Association of Antifascists (VVN / BdA). We are currently pursuing a lawsuit against this at the Higher Administrative Court in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Providing legal assistance to the underprivileged
“Babylon Berlin” also shows how the Weimar Republic was not destroyed by “left-wing extremists” but by the alliance of parts of the state apparatus with the Nazis. Hans Litten also fought against this.
The Hans Litten Archive as a volunteer organization today sees itself in the spirit of the words of Hans Litten in “Babylon Berlin”. By documenting the history of the solidarity organizations of the workers’ movement and the social movements including the various Red Aid organizations over the past 100 years, we want to show how important it is and remains to provide legal aid to the underprivileged in order to help them achieve this what is due to them. “Namely to your right!”
We are very excited to see how the portrayal of Hans Litten will continue to be knitted in the next season of “Babylon Berlin”. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. “