Umbridge's Justice and Hitler's Justice; The Sinister Similarities
Add to the rich and varied attributes of the Harry Potter series - catalyst to acquaint future generations not only with the evils of discrimination but also the lessons of the Nuremberg Trials. Those tribunals, which included the main prosecution of Hitler's henchmen plus numerous related trials of lower-level officials including judges, teach a universal lesson of international law. Some acts are so heinous they constitute crimes against humanity, even if legal under the regime in which they occur. This lesson must be repeatedly reinforced as a means to curb willing executioners; those who would perpetuate genocide. Pathetically, efforts to annihilate ethnic groups continue to plague our world.
In The Deathly Hallows, chapter 13, Harry, Ron and Hermione infiltrate the Ministry. While there, we get a glimpse of Umbridge's interrogation and banishment of Mudbloods and Muggle-borns. The parallels to the treatment of Jews and even some mischlings (part-Jews) in the Third Reich are compelling and beg to be made. The result is an ideal and irresistible teachable moment.
Karen Morris is a Distinguished Professor of Law at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York and a teacher of the Holocaust. In addition she is an elected Town Court Judge in Brighton, New York located near Rochester. She is the author of several textbooks including Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Law; and New York Criminal Law. She is an avid Harry Potter fan and has presented at numerous Harry Potter symposia on various legal aspects of J. K. Rowling's' series.