For a decade the Weimar Constitution held sway over Communist paramilitary groups and Nazi stormtroopers. But the economic catastrophe of 1929 ultimately brought Adolf Hitler, with his promises to restore Germany’s standing in Europe, to power. ‘This imbecile has us especially close to his heart. He makes no secret of his hateful feelings. He does not greet my wife at all and ignores me unless it’s for official business,’ wrote Friedrich Kellner, courthouse administrator in the small German town of Laubach, on January 23, 1943. The ‘imbecile’ was Heinrich Scherdt, the court constable, who had been directed by the local SS unit, a branch of the Gestapo office in Giessen, to report on the Kellners.