Timon de Groot

Citizens into Dishonored Felons: Felony Disenfranchisement, Honor, and Rehabilitation in Germany, 1806-1933

Studies in German History. Vol. 28. New York: Berghahn Books, 2023.

Available Online

Over the course of its history, the German Empire increasingly withheld basic rights—such as joining the army, holding public office, and even voting—as a form of legal punishment. Dishonored offenders were often stigmatized in both formal and informal ways, as their convictions shaped how they were treated in prisons, their position in the labour market, and their access to rehabilitative resources.  With a focus on Imperial Germany’s criminal policies and their afterlives in the Weimar era, Citizens into Dishonored Felons demonstrates how criminal punishment was never solely a disciplinary measure, but that it reflected a national moral compass that authorities used to dictate the rights to citizenship, honour and trust.

Citizens into Dishonored Felonshas a great potential to intervene in different intellectual and public debates, it has the detail to be convincing, and the author has been skillful in interpreting the historiography and the data.” • Barry Godfrey, University of Liverpool

“Timon de Groot offers a fresh perspective on the history of German criminal policy. This well-written, well-researched book demonstrates the role of punishment as an expressive act, delineating the contours and the boundaries of citizenship in modern Germany. The work makes an important contribution to both the study of law and society and German history.” • Warren Rosenblum, Webster University