© Government Press Office - State of Israel

Schreibtischtäter - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


The International Nuremberg Principles Academy organized a panel discussion and dialogue that explored the history and current understanding of Schreibtischtäter (Desk Perpetrators) and their international crimes. The event was held in cooperation with the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, Germany, on 26 September 2019.

Ordinary professionals – from bureaucrats to technocrats, and from journalists to scientists – have always played a crucial role in the commission of international crimes. Hannah Arendt portrayed one such Schreibtischtäter, Adolf Eichmann, and found him famously “banal.” Yet despite their centrality in history, little is known about these cogs in the wheel of violence.

Bringing together leading experts, this event took stock of existing knowledge and contemplated the future. From colonial genocide to the Holocaust, and from Darfur to Syria, the panelists debated what Schreibtischtäter are, what they do, and how to bring them to justice. The discussion, moderated by Dr. Viviane Dittrich, Deputy Director of the Nuremberg Academy united perspectives from history, law, literature, and political science.

Florian Dierl, Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, gave the Opening Remarks.

The speakers were: Prof. Jens Meierhenrich, London School of Economics and Political Science, Dr. Annette Weinke, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Prof. Thomas Weigend, Universität zu Köln, Prof. Dirk van Laak, Universität Leipzig, Prof. Kim Priemel, University of Oslo, and Dr. Viviane Dittrich, International Nuremberg Principles Academy (Chair).