I write in connection with Jonathan Goldsmith’s article about the worsening persecution of lawyers around the world.
Mr Goldsmith referred to ‘a striking photo’ on the cover of ‘Lawyers without rights’ of a Jewish lawyer ‘being publicly humiliated in the streets as early as April 1933’.
That lawyer was my husband’s grandfather, Dr Michael Siegel.
Dr Siegel left Germany as late as September 1940 and emigrated to Peru.
He was readmitted as a practising lawyer to the Bavarian Courts in 1953, notwithstanding his residency in Peru.
Then, aged 71, he was again able to use his skills and legal knowledge, specialising in restitution claims.
His clients were mostly German Jewish refugees, many in Peru, some in other Latin American countries and some in the US, whom he represented most successfully in claims before German authorities and courts.
Dr Siegel was also frequently consulted by the German Embassy in Lima on matters of German and Peruvian law.
In 1971, on his 89th birthday, he was awarded the ‘Grosse Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland’ (Grand Cross of Merit of the German Republic) ‘in recognition of his exceptional services to the state and people’.
It was one of the proudest moments of his distinguished life and he accepted the honour on behalf of the whole German Jewish community in Lima.
He died in Peru in 1979, aged 96.
Alison Wallace, Employment partner, Steptoe & Johnson, London EC2