The first Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt began at the Römer, Frankfurt’s City Hall, on December 20, 1963 – initiated not by systematic investigations but by the report filed by a private person with the police against one of the later defendants, namely SS Senior Platoon Leader (Oberscharführer) Wilhelm Boger, in the spring of 1958.
For jurisdictional reasons, the Stuttgart public prosecutor’s office first conducted the investigations, but as of December in the same year, the Central Office in Ludwigsburg also began its own investigation. In January of 1959, Fritz Bauer, the chief public prosecutor in Frankfurt, received authentic documents documenting the targeted killings of Auschwitz prisoners by members of the SS. He immediately launched an investigation. Bauer, who himself had been persecuted by the Nazi regime as a Jew and a Social Democrat, requested that the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) in Karlsruhe transfer legal jurisdiction with respect to all of the crimes committed at Auschwitz to the Frankfurt Regional Court in the spring of 1959. During the course of bundling these proceedings, Fritz Bauer hired a highly motivated and dedicated group of public prosecutors who had not been implicated in Nazi crimes and who were led by Hans Grossmann: Georg Friedrich Vogel, Joachim Kuegler, and Gerhard Wiese.