About Ralf Oberndörfer

History is neither a wonder medicine nor the most important of all the sciences. The critical confrontation with the past, however, can be an essential step to understanding oneself and others, to avoiding mistakes, and to making the right decisions. Historical events may never be only good or bad examples; they want to be understood. It is important to be completely present.

I am a trained and qualified lawyer, and have worked as a freelance legal historian since 1994. To my work with clients, I bring more than two decades of experience in research, political, and historical education as well as writing and editing of scientific and journalistic texts.

My focus is on the German legal history of the 20th Century, which addresses the causes and consequences of Nazi crimes and the awareness of antisemitism and racism. I understand my work as a human rights approach to education and the strengthening of democratic consciousness. This includes involement in current political debate and conflicts. Sometimes I marvel at the little importance given by educators to the rule of law and the knowledge of judicial crimes.

My native language is German. However, I also write and speak English fluently, comprehend French texts and speak the language at an intermediate level, and have a basic knowledge of Hebrew. Of note, I have lived in both the U.S. and Israel, twelve months and six months respectively.

Since 2010 I am member of the board of Forum Justizgeschichte e.V., an organization dedicated to a critial approach to German legal history.

Click here for chronological lists of my studies and publications (in German).

Between the Lines

Under the pseudonym Rob Alef, I write my football blog, Volk ohne Raumdeckung. In 2009, my third novel, Die Wölfe (The Wolves), was published by VGS Verlag, Cologne to accompany a 3-part miniseries on German public television ZDF. My latest novel is Immer schön gierig bleiben [Stay greedy alright] , a crime story published in German in 2013 (Rotbuch, Berlin).