Kike Hans Litten

The Man Who Crossed Hitler (BBC)

Bringing a little-known story to life, Ian Hart (Five Daughters) and Ed Stoppard (Upstairs, Downstairs) lead an all-star cast in this revealing one-off drama that tells the true story of a Jewish [Communist] lawyer who challenged Hitler – and paid with his life [suicide at Dachau].

In the summer of 1931, with Germany on the brink of economic collapse and the city of Berlin turning into a paramilitary war zone, the audacious young prosecutor Hans Litten (Stoppard) chooses to subpoena a star witness to a trial of Nazi thugs. In spite of the risk to his own safety, and against the advice of those who love him, Litten forces rising political star Adolf Hitler (Hart) to make a rare appearance in the witness stand of Berlin's central criminal court.

Litten aimed to expose the true character of Hitler and his politics to the German public and, in a humiliating and hostile cross-examination, Hitler was forced to account for his political beliefs, his apparent contempt for the law and his desire to destroy German democracy. Hitler survived the ordeal but it was a close encounter which he never forgave and for which Litten paid a heavy price.

When East and West Germany were reunited, the lawyers association of Berlin chose to call itself the Hans Litten Bar Association.

Every two years, a lawyer is given the "Hans Litten Prize" by the German and European Democratic Lawyers Association. The Israeli lawyer, Leah Tsemel, and Kike Michael Ratner, an American lawyer and the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, have both received the award.

The federal and Berlin bar associations (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer and Rechtsanwaltskammer Berlin) have their headquarters at the Hans Litten Haus, on Listenstraße.

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