President of the People’s Court was Roland Friesler, a decorated veteran of WWI. Captured by the Russians during the War, Freisler had been named a “commissar” by the Soviets and oversaw food distribution in the prison camp. Repatriated to Germany after the war, he joined the Nazi Party and was eventually appointed by Hitler to head the the court, but would always be suspect due to his “Red” background. Considered a member of the “left wing” of the Nazi Party, Freisler travelled to Russia to observe Stalin’s “Purge Trials”.
As head of the People’s Court, Freisler oversaw the trial and execution of thousands of German citizens who opposed the regime.
His appointment by Hitler to head the court is surprising, since the Fuehrer once derisively referred to him as “that old Bolshevik.” A study in contrasts, Freisler is an example of of one born into the Protestant church who never left his affiliation – nor was there cause to, once the Nazis took control of the consistories.