The State’s Dealing with the Poor before, in and after National Socialism

Continuities and Discontinuities - Part 2


  • Beate Kutschke Paris Lodron University Salzburg



socio-political history of the treatment of the poor, continuities and discontinuities before, during and after National Socialism, rehabilitation efforts regarding ‘asocials’ and ‘professional criminals’ in Germany of the late 2010s, divergence of the social case law regarding sanctions of unemployed since the mid-1990s


This article reconstructs the continuities and differences in the treatment of the poor and unemployed before, during, and after National Socialism. To this end, it takes as its starting point previous research on the socio-political history of poor relief from the late Middle Ages to the present, and on the persecution of the poor and unemployed between 1933 and 1945. The author illuminates in particular the role of the image of the poor and their mistreatment by welfare institutions. The reconstruction of continuities in these respects serves as a starting point for answering the question of whether the historically consolidated parameters of poor relief still have an impact in the twenty-first century. To answer this question, the author examines two current cases. The first is the efforts in the late 2010s to rehabilitate people who were persecuted and murdered as “asocials” and “professional criminals” during the Nazi regime. The second is a hitherto little-noticed peculiarity of social case law on sanctions for the unemployed since the mid-1990s: a divergence from the consolidated unanimous supreme court jurisprudence in Germany. It has resulted in the recipients of unemployed benefits being restricted with regard to their constitutional guarantee of legal recourse.

Author Biography

  • Beate Kutschke, Paris Lodron University Salzburg

    Beate Kutschke has a doctorate in culturology and is a Privatdozentin for musicology at the Paris Lodron University Salzburg. In the past, she has taught at various universities, including Harvard University, the University of the Arts and Humboldt University in Berlin, as well as the University of Hong Kong. As a musicologist with a focus on culturology, she has examined avant-garde music of the twentieth century and popular music of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She has specialised in postmodernism and posthistoire, music and protest in 1968, music and heroism, the history of musical form and computer-based music information retrieval, as well as music philosophy and semiotics. She has received funding for her research from the German and Austrian research foundations (DFG and FWF) and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, among others. Her volume of collected essays Musik and Protest in 1968, co-edited with Barley Norton, won the Ruth Solie Award of the American Musicological Society. Recently, she has expanded her research interests to include topics at the interface of cultural history and law. She is particularly concerned with the history of the Unemployment Insurance Act and the legal doctrine of justification requirements for executive and judicial decisions.




How to Cite

“The State’s Dealing With the Poor Before, in and After National Socialism: Continuities and Discontinuities - Part 2”. 2024. S: I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation. 11 (1): 124-44.