The Reichstag Fire Trial, which was held from September 21 to December 23, 1933, was a failure for the Nazi leadership. To ensure the desired outcome months before the trial even started, Hitler had persuaded Reich President Hindenburg to pass the “Reich Law Regarding the Imposition and Execution of Capital Punishment” of March 29, 1933. According to this law, crimes such as arson and high treason were punishable by death, retroactive to January 31, 1933. But it could not be proven that Torgler, Dimitrov, Popov, and Tanev were guilty as charged, and all four were acquitted. Nonetheless, the Reich Court emphasized its conviction that the Reichstag fire was indeed part of a Communist Party plot and signaled its support for the “Reichstag Fire Decree” of February 28, 1933, which it viewed as justifiable. Torgler remained in “protective custody” until 1935. The Bulgarian Communists were deported to the Soviet Union. In 1946, Dimitrov became the second Bulgarian prime minister. Only Marinus van der Lubbe was convicted of high treason and arson, condemned to death, and executed.

Before the Reich Court in Leipzig: Defendant Marinus van der Lubbe with his Interpreter (September 24, 1933)


Source: Before the Reich Court in Leipzig. The defendant van der Lubbe with his interpreter, Georgi Dimitroff (on the right). Leipzig, September 24, 1933. Unknown photographer.
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