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Dossier : Genre, histoire et droit
IV. Combattre l’ordre juridique genré (et racialisé)

Political Engagement by ‘apolitical’ Female European Lawyers: The International Federation of Women Judges and Lawyers, 1928 – 1956

Sara L. Kimble

Résumés

En 1929, la Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats est devenue une organisation affiliée habilitée à faire pression sur les délégués à la Société des Nations. Cette sororité juridique transnationale se consacrait à une réforme juridique universelle visant à résoudre le problème fondamental de l’inégalité des sexes devant la loi. Les femmes juristes faisaient partie d’un mouvement transnational imbriqué qui cherchait à établir une jurisprudence féministe fondée sur l’équité. Malgré les vicissitudes mondiales de l’entre-deux-guerres, elles ont fait appel à l’autorité de l’État et au droit international pour protéger les personnes vulnérables, atténuer la souffrance et instaurer l’équité.

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Texte intégral

I. Introduction

  • 1 Statutes reprinted in M. Kraemer-Bach, “Fédération internationale des femmes avocats”, La Française(...)

1The Fédération Internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats or International Federation of Women Judges and Lawyers (FIFCJ) was formed in 1928 by transnational activists who claimed to be engaged in the work of professional unity and cooperation, not political action. This pioneering European legal sorority intended to cultivate “amity and solidarity” among its female members, facilitate women’s access to “all juridical careers,” improve “women’s professional circumstances,” study laws, and to “spread the idea of world peace”1. The FIFCJ articulated superficially uncontroversial objectives and aligned itself with the mainstream issues of the women’s rights and humanitarian movement of the early twentieth century. Despite the claim of political neutrality, my analysis of the collective and individual activities by the core members reveals that they created networks of solidarity and studied comparative laws precisely to promote legal reform and political change. At critical moments, they challenged the status quo that restricted the rights of women and devalued women’s contributions in public life. At the League of Nations, and later the United Nations, they campaigned for international laws to criminalize family abandonment and secure maintenance support for dependents, an important win benefitting women and children. Additionally, they fought to secure married women’s right to keep their own nationality upon marriage with a foreign spouse under international law. These efforts came to fruition in the mid-1950s as international law conventions.

2Historical research into the FIFCJ members’ activities from 1928-1956 reveals that their political platform was broad and deep as they sought to overturn male privilege in national and international law. The federation activists were committed to winning women’s access to the professions, and to voting and electoral rights where exclusions still applied (e.g., France, Spain, Switzerland), and they also condemned discrimination against women in employment, education, professional and economic opportunities. They criticized the impoverishment of wives and children who, abandoned by spouses and fathers, were denied protection within the family structure. But they went beyond these demands to champion the downtrodden including refugees and the politically persecuted, especially during the 1930s and 1940s. Undergirding their campaigns were claims that states, and their legal systems, failed to adequately safeguard women and children. This cadre of female lawyers and jurists sought to apply international law as a buttress for weak national protections.

3This politicization of gender-focused legal reform was not limited to activists in liberal democratic societies but also operated in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany where female legal activists pushed reform agendas. This research highlights the importance of legal knowledge and political influence in facilitating female activists’ efforts to engage in shaping their societies regardless of the fate of democracy on the national level. It also reveals an important schism within FIFCJ history.

  • 2 M. Minow, “Political Lawyering: An Introduction”, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, (...)
  • 3 For contemporary cases see C. Menkel-Meadow, “Causes of Cause Lawyering: Toward an Understanding of (...)
  • 4 L. Israël, “From Cause Lawyering to Resistance: French Communist Lawyers in the Shadow of History ( (...)
  • 5 F. Batlan, “The Ladies’ Health Protective Association: Lay Lawyers and Urban Cause Lawyering”, Akro (...)
  • 6 See Mothers of a New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States, eds. S. Koven a (...)

4The theoretical lens used to interpret this phenomenon of female-led activism is termed “cause lawyering” or “political lawyering”2. This assumes a broad definition of such lawyering, that is, the lawyers applied their professional skills (e.g., legal research and advocacy) in the service of political movements3. This research follows other scholars who have investigated the use of law for political ends. Liora Israël questions but still applied the approach of cause lawyering to her analysis of resistance and collaboration by French lawyers during World War II. Israël’s research on lawyers under Vichy and German occupation allows us to see cause lawyering in a variety of modes of practice in support of political movements and as a form of protest against state power4. Likewise, legal historian Felice Batlan’s work illustrates how women’s organizations used the law, despite their outsider status5. These models are useful to examine how European female lawyers engaged in political causes to argue that the state should provide welfare programs. Their arguments ran parallel to those activists known for “civic maternalism,” meaning they promoted women’s public activities as policymakers, voters, and civic-minded workers6.

  • 7 S. L. Kimble and M. Röwekamp, “Introduction: Legal Cultures and Communities of Female Protest in Mo (...)
  • 8 S. L. Kimble, “The Rise of ‘Modern Portias’: Female Lawyers and Activism in Third Republic France”, (...)

5The emergence of the FIFCJ legal sorority in 1928 was possible only when educational, constitutional, and structural conditions created opportunities in the legal and juridical careers in the post-World War I era. The majority of European countries admitted women to the bar between the two world wars: Portugal (1918); Sweden (1918, unmarried women); Denmark (restricted from 1906, equality in 1919); Italy (1919); Scotland and Wales (1920); Northern Ireland (1921); Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, and Germany (1922); Poland (1925); Hungary (1928); and Austria (1929).7 France exceptionally admitted women to the bar in 1900 and it is from this country that the initial leadership of the legal sorority emerged8. The relevant biographies of the federation leaders will be highlighted below following a brief discussion of historiography, research methods, and sources.

A. Historiography and Methodology

6The activism of the FIFCJ in the realm of international law may have been overlooked until now for a variety of reasons including gender discrimination that marginalized women’s concerns at the time, the impact of the rise of fascism and World War II on its membership and loss of archival materials, historical amnesia, and disciplinary practices. Heretofore, disciplinary boundaries as well as methods have impeded explorations of the questions of women’s participation in international law. The separation between private international law and public international law has artificially obscured the dialogues and cross-fertilization. Moreover, recognizing the role of marginalized figures in the construction of international legal thought and international law requires acknowledging the role of non-state actors in this history.

7New scholarship explores ways to uncover and analyze the role of non-state actors in the history of international law. In Rewriting the History of the Law of Nations (2019), Paolo Amorosa (inspired by Anne Orford) writes to understand the past, with all its contradictions and limitations, and also keep open the possibility of political engagement by current lawyers. Amorosa questions the previously accepted narrative on the origins of modern international law. He proposes a new perspective:

  • 9 P. Amorosa, Rewriting the History of the Law of Nations: How James Brown Scott Made Francisco de Vi (...)

reconsidering certain images of our profession, at the same time self-aggrandizing and de-responsibilizing, that we have come to recognize and accept. When we think of ourselves as the “priesthood” of a technical discipline, operating in a legal sphere separated from politics, or as the members of a universal invisible college, depositaries of “the legal conscience of the civilized world,” we deny our role as situated, engaged, and self-aware political actors. Self-awareness carries with it the immersion of historical narratives about international law into the general discourse of global politics; it also counteracts the temptation of retreating into a realm of timeless ideas bearing little grip on the stakes of concrete social arrangements9.

This approach emphasizes the role of human agency in writing international legal history, recognizes that political concepts evolve in particular historical contexts, and uses methods not constrained by rigid delimitations of the disciplines. Moreover, any narrative insisting that international law has been constructed without women, or without gender, fails to recognize the fundamental ways in which concepts of human rights have been construed.

  • 10 J. H. Quataert and L. Wildenthal, “Introduction: An Open-Ended and Contingent History of Human Righ (...)
  • 11 S. Djajić, “Standing Alone but Standing Tall: A Female Perspective of International Law from the In (...)
  • 12 M. Craven, “Theorizing the Turn to History in International Law”, The Oxford Handbook of the Theory (...)

8Historian Jean Quataert has worked constructively to “engender” the field of human rights over two decades, from her succinct essay on The Gendering of Human Rights in the International Systems (2006) to her comprehensive The Routledge History of Human Rights (2020). Quataert’s interventions illustrate how to historicize “our perceptions of power and weakness” and disrupt the presentism of the dominant narrative of human rights10. Additionally, other scholars are engaged in locating the “forgotten” and “invisible” figures – often women – from international law, successfully taking a biographical approach to unearth historic contributions11. Clearly, the “historical turn” in international law, and historians’ interest in legal history and international relations, is still a work in progress12. Nevertheless, these scholars are rescuing marginalized actors involved in the shaping of international law and international relations who have been unhelpfully obscured. These inclusive scholarly perspectives provide us with models for how to write a more comprehensive history of socio-political and legal change in the modern era.

  • 13 S. L. Kimble, “Women’s Rights and The Rights of Man: Women’s Status Under Law as the Measure of ‘Ci (...)
  • 14 K. Offen, The Woman Question in France, 1400-1870, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017; and(...)
  • 15 For European history see European Women’s Legal History, op. cit.; on Arenal see I. de la Rasilla, (...)
  • 16 H. Charlesworth and C. Chinkin, The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis, Yonkers, (...)
  • 17 A. Nussbaum, A Concise History of the Law of Nations, New York, Macmillan, 1950, p. 191 and 198.

9To recover women as a force in legal history, scholars should recall the important role of law in the modern women’s rights movement from the nineteenth century13. The intellectual and political history of the “woman question” is old indeed; historian Karen Offen has examined it from the fifteenth century14. A variety of writers shaped the more precise question of “women’s legal status” from the late nineteenth century, including Spanish penologist Concepcion Arenal’s Ensayo sobre el Derecho de gentes (1879), American reformer Theodore Stanton’s essay collection: The Woman Question in Europe (1884), and the Belorussian political theorist Moisie Ostrogorski’s La femme au point de vue du droit public: étude d’histoire et de législation (1892). These texts and their authors deserve to be better known by today’s scholars claiming to examine the history of international and comparative law15. (To leap from John Locke to the United Nations when writing history of international law misses important opportunities to engage in critical thinking about the development of international law16.) Even the classic text by Arthur Nussbaum, A Concise History of the Law of Nations (1950), saw the mid-nineteenth century as the beginning of a “new era” in legal history17. New scholarship is beginning to recognize that both gender politics and women shaped this history.

  • 18 On abolition see: J. B. Stewart and K. K. Sklar, Women’s Rights and Transatlantic Antislavery in th (...)
  • 19 S. L. Kimble, “Transatlantic Networks for Legal Feminism, 1888 – 1912”, Forging Bonds across Border (...)

10The European women’s rights movement from the nineteenth century was profoundly concerned with laws. Prior to the establishment of the League of Nations, legal activists sought to study and advanced women’s rights through international agreements. Their approach followed the model that led to the abolition of the slave trade and opium trade and limited prostitution and human trafficking18. Feminist legal experts networked through the meeting International Council of Women (ICW, established 1888), a group that fostered the development of “legal feminism”19. The study of women’s rights culminated in the ICW’s 200-page analysis entitled Position in the Laws of the Nations: A Compilation of the Laws of Different Countries (1912), published in English, French, and German. In the subsequent phase, once the League was established, the FIFCJ was on the vanguard of this continued effort by feminist jurists.

B. Sources

  • 20 S. L. Kimble, “The International Federation of Women in the Legal and Juridical Careers: A Brief Hi (...)
  • 21 FIFCJ, Fédération internationale des femmes des carrières juridiques. 60 années d’histoire, Melun, (...)

11This current research illustrates that by delving into archival sources and the published legal texts we can locate pioneering female lawyers who engaged with international law. This article builds on earlier research that identified the role of legal feminism in the international women’s rights movement from the 1880s, and reconstructed the origins of the first European women’s association of lawyers and judges20. The FIFCJ secured consultative status with the League of Nations in 1929 but did not publish their own periodical until 1963. This Federation eventually published their organizational history in 1989, which provides a self-reflexive narrative21. No organization archive has yet materialized, perhaps due to the ransacking of residences and offices associated with the thieving by the Nazis and their collaborators.

  • 22 Most relevant: ATRIA (Amsterdam); Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand (Paris); Centre des archives du fé (...)
  • 23 M. Kraemer-Bach, La Longue Route, Paris, La pensée universelle, 1988; V. Poska-Grünthal, See oli Ee (...)

12Nearly all of the founding members of the Federation were forced into exile as a result of the rise of Nazism, the Spanish Civil War, and the Second World War. These disruptions reduced the existing evidence base but records remain in women’s history archives, the UN archives, legal journals, and law congress proceedings22. To compensate, professional records have been combined with analysis of memoirs by several federation leaders including Marcelle Kraemer-Bach (in French) and Vera Poska-Grünthal (in Estonian) that provide a biographical tone to the reconstruction of their historical contributions23. The variety of national origins of the original members, however, does present practical and linguistic challenges for accessing archives in various locations and languages.

13The FIFCJ was headquartered in Paris and had overlapping membership in other women’s rights organizations and later with the national groups such as French women’s bar association, Association française des femmes des carrières juridiques. Unfortunately, the FIFCJ has been erroneously confused with a post-war organization of Federación Internacional de Abogadas / International Federation of Women Lawyers, established in 1944 in Mexico City. This newer organization obtained United Nations Consultative status only in 1954. The origins and significance of the first extent organization of European lawyers merits clarity.

II. The Origins of the Fédération internationale des femmes des carrières juridiques

  • 24 See M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du S (...)
  • 25 On Polish participation in FIFCJ see I. Dadej, “‘The Napoleonic Civil Code is to Blame for My Decis (...)
  • 26 L. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement, Princeton, Princeton Uni (...)

14The FIFCJ founders were pan-European: Vera Poska-Grünthal (Estonia), Clara Campoamor (Spain), Margarete Berent (Germany), Agathe Dyvrande-Thévenin and Marcelle Kraemer-Bach (France)24. This group was quickly joined by Antoinette Quinche (Switzerland), Elsie Bowerman (Britain), Wanda Grabińska (Poland), and Elina Guimarães (Portugal)25. From the origins of the organization in 1928, members concentrated on questions of women’s status in the legal and juridical professions, legislative reforms to change civil or penal codes within their respective countries, and subsequently, to internationalize their efforts. The FIFCJ owes its existence to the broader international women’s rights movement, notably the International Council of Women (ICW), which maintained political neutrality and non-partisanship while it endeavored to build a women’s collective26. The ICW’s constitution rejected “controversial” political and religious matters while it focused on issues related to the welfare of the family, fundamental freedoms, and rights of the individual. The FIFCJ sought to emulate this model in its own objectives. FIFCJ members also belonged to varied organizations, such as the International Association of University Women, International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship, International Business and Professional Women’s Association, Open Door International, etc., where their parallel activism may have diffused some of their energies and further obscured their role in international law debates and developments. Biographical research reveals, however, that they were present and intervened at male-dominated legal conferences hosted by the International Law Association and International Association of Juvenile Court Judges.

  • 27 “L’Union Internationale des avocates”, La Française, 13 octobre 1928.
  • 28 D. Gorman, The Emergence of International Society in the 1920s, Cambridge, Cambridge University Pre (...)

15The public expectation for the FIFCJ members was activism for justice. One observer phrase it this way: “Female lawyers, in all countries, have been engaged in a difficult competition with men to defeat heavy prejudices. In forming a group and raising consciences, they can provide the most important services”27. These services included advocating for feminist legal reform, educating the public, and appealing for non-violent solutions to global crises. The moment of the FIFCJ’s emergence coincided with the explosive growth in internationalism that brought NGOs into position of greater influence relative to the activities of the League of Nations28. This movement was partially fueled by a critical mass of university-educated women primed for political participation and transnational connections. A brief prosopographical sketch reveals their common origins and political orientation.

  • 29 Poska-Grünthal, See oli Eestis, op. cit., p. 91-94; unpublished translation by Merike Lepasaar Beec (...)
  • 30 For example: E. E. Bowerman, The Law of Child Protection, London, 1933; W. Woytowicz-Grabińska and (...)

16Estonian lawyer Vera Poska-Grünthal (1898-1986), who initiated the meeting that led to the formation of the Federation in July 1928, later recalled that while meeting in Paris with international colleagues she “felt as though a light went on in my head, with the realization that though we’d come from all the many corners of the globe, our concerns were the same”29. Common concerns included the poverty of children, the ineffective role of justice system in the treatment of juvenile delinquency, the paucity of children’s legal protections30. Poska-Grünthal’s political priorities were rooted in her professional practice in Tallinn, where she worked on family law cases for the municipal Bureau of Legal Advice, and with the Estonian women’s movement where she focused on reform proposals that would align the Baltic Civil Code with the Estonia constitution. She was later credited with co-authorship of a new code section of the legal status of illegitimate children adopted in 1934. As she witnessed the failure of nations to implement meaningful reforms, such as those outlined by the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, one result was political radicalization.

  • 31 Dyvrande-Thévenin quoted in E. Charrier, LÉvolution intellectuelle féminine, Paris, Mechelinck, 19 (...)
  • 32 M. Kraemer-Bach, “En passant Galerie Marchande: Me Agathe Dyvrande-Thévenin”, La Vie judiciaire, 20 (...)
  • 33 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du Sorop (...)
  • 34 Kimble, “The Rise of ‘Modern Portias’”, op. cit.
  • 35 C. Bard, Les Filles de Marianne : Histoire des féminismes 1914-1940, Paris, Fayard, 1995.

17The FIFCJ was a vehicle to elevate women’s public legal advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable. Agathe Dyvrande-Thévenin (1885-1977), first president of the FIFCJ, argued that women in the legal profession were called upon to protect and defend the interests of others – a privilege, she believed, that belonged as much to women as to men31. Her peers praised her as an effective leader in building solidarity across borders: “She knows how to weave spiritual connections together with solid juridical discussions, from country to country, above the oceans and continents, into an enduring fraternity”32. Dyvrande-Thévenin, a well-respected attorney in Paris, defended women’s rights comprehensively – including their right to access all branches of the legal and juridical professions – and constitutional voting rights. She also advanced legal claims for the recognition of the unpaid work that women did within the household, and for international maternity protections. She believed that women should pressure their governments to promote “evolution and progress” under the law, a euphemism for equality33. Even in France during the 1930s, women faced new gender discrimination such as employment quotas within civil service. Despite these restrictions, female lawyers were among the most active campaigners for reforms to the civil code, constitutional law, judicial organization, and citizenship rights34. Female lawyers fought especially for married women rights to work, to vote, for parental authority over their children, and retention of their nationality in the event of marriage to a foreigner35.

  • 36 M. Nash, Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War, Denver, Arden Press, 1995, p. 4 (...)
  • 37 C. Campoamor, La Révolution espagnole, Paris, Plon, 1937.

18In Spain, Clara Campaomor (1888-1972), FIFCJ co-founder, was also member of the Spanish Constituent Assembly from 1931, under male-only suffrage. She defied her own Radical Party to advocate for women’s voting rights. Her political activism was influential in the passage of substantive reforms including “maternity insurance plans, labor legislation, education reform, civil marriage laws, and the establishment of divorce, together with abolition of regulated prostitution”36. Campoamor’s demand for equality of the sexes in constitutional law was exceptional both in Spanish politics and Spanish feminism. Her commitment to republican values and legal reform was an asset during the Constituent Assembly but she split with the Radical Party (1934) over the position of the Church, and the repression of workers in Asturias37. She remained a FIFCJ member throughout these challenges.

  • 38 Grabińska (aka Woytowicz-Grabińska) was one of perhaps seventeen female judges working in Poland be (...)
  • 39 Additionally, co-author of Principles Applicable to the Functioning of Juvenile Courts and Similar (...)
  • 40 W. Grabinska, “L’Enfant devant le tribunal”, Première assemblée générale de l’association internati (...)

19In Warsaw, Wanda Grabińska (1902-1980), worked as a pioneering juvenile court judge and administrator in the Polish Ministry of Social Assistance. She served as a formidable advocate for juvenile justice reform, a campaigner for female judges, general secretary to the International Association of Children’s Magistrates, and expert at the League of Nations38. Grabińska joined the FIFCJ at the Paris conference of 1929, and served as its vice-president during the 1930s. At the League of Nations, she represented Poland on the Advisory Commission for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Young People. With French judge Henri Rollet she published a guide to Auxiliary Services of the Juvenile Courts (1931) and a work on the Organisation of Juvenile Courts and the Results Attained Hither-to (1935). She advocated for a significant role for women in the social and judicial rehabilitation of youth39. Her activism from the 1930s contributes to a pattern of civic maternalism that facilitated women’s entrance into public life, easing their passage as a result of their assumed “expertise” in many family-law related matters. Grabińska, judge of the Warsaw youth court from 1929 to 1939, believed that delinquents did not need imprisonment but rather education, tenderness, and even sunshine40. Her juridical practice implemented the principles of the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, and embraced modern rehabilitation methods.

  • 41 S. L. Kimble, “Popular Legal Journalism in the Writings of Maria Vérone”, Proceedings of the Wester (...)
  • 42 A. R. Ziegler, “The Role of Learned Societies in the Development of International and European Law (...)

20European feminist lawyers produced copious examples of popular legal education through their public speaking and journalism. These practices were typical in several countries, influencing their contemporaries and providing sources for analysis legal feminist thought in the early twentieth century41. Swiss attorney Antoinette Quinche (1896-1979), assistant secretary of the FIFCJ, wrote a newspaper column informing readers about the rights and restraints of family law and civil law most likely to affect them. Quinche’s series “Causerie juridique” was published in Le mouvement féministe: organe officiel des publications de l’Alliance nationale des sociétés féminines suisses from 1928 through 1939. She wrote in lay terms about marital property, divorce, declaration of pregnancy, illegitimate children, guardianship, nationality, and other concerns. Quinche was involved in the Swiss Society of International Law (established 1914) though scholars still need to examine her activities in that context42.

21Portuguese feminist Elina Guimarães (1904 – 1991) finished law school in 1926 and contributed to the genre she called “juridical feminism”. A FIFCJ member from 1929, Guimarães gave public lectures, wrote extensively in the popular press, and published monographs on topics of “feminismo juridicio” beginning in the 1920s. She described her approach:

  • 43 Elina Guimarães: Una feminist Portuguese, Vida e Obra (1904-1991), Lisbon, Comissão para a Igualdad (...)

For centuries and centuries laws were written, applied, studied and commented by men. No wonder they were masculine. That is why they protected the property of the married woman more than their persons […]. The law in the domain of the civil code of 1867 was for the married woman the denial of justice. That’s why I preferred to work in the laboratories where future laws are elaborated: the law magazines. There I made countless comments on Portuguese jurisprudence and reports on favorable foreign laws43.

  • 44 A. Cova, “The National Council of Women in France, Italy and Portugal: Comparisons and Entanglement (...)
  • 45 E. Guimarães, “Evolução da situação jurídica da mulher portuguesa”, Cadernos de hoje, 8, c. 1969, a (...)
  • 46 V. Baptista and P. Marques Alves, “Women in the Mutual Societies of Portugal”, Women, Work, and Act (...)

Guimarães was also a leader in the Portuguese women’s movement as president of the ICW-affiliated National Council of Portuguese Women (Conselho Nacional das Mulheres Portuguesas) from the age of 25. Her leadership positions kept her in contact with international feminists44. The installation in 1933 of the Estado Novo, the corporatist Portuguese state, suppressed the women’s rights movement. Guimarães documented the dismantling of women’s rights by the dictatorship45. Her research has served historians who are still reconstructing the history of early Portuguese feminism because “the dictatorship erased the memory of early feminists”46.

  • 47 C. Formaglio, “Féministe d’abord”: Cécile Brunschvicg (1877 – 1946), Rennes, Presses universitair (...)
  • 48 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La capacité de la femme mariée en droit français (loi du 18 février 1938) et en d (...)

22The first secretary general of the FIFCJ, Marcelle Kraemer-Bach (1897-1990), was an indefatigable advocate for universal republicanism and equal rights. French through her Romanian parents’ naturalization, Kraemer-Bach promoted equality under the law throughout her career, leaving behind a considerable record. Her writing focused on equal pay for equal work, civil equality of married women, and women’s suffrage and electoral rights. Kraemer-Bach reached a variety of audiences, writing for the French women’s daily paper La Française, the mainstream press such as Le Petit Parisien and Excelsoir; and the legal press, such as the Revue de droit international, La Revue pratique de droit international, and La Vie Judiciaire. She also authored a book on gender inequality under the law: Les Inégalités legales entre l’homme et la femme (1927). As a member of the influential French women’s suffrage union (Union française pour le suffrage des femmes), she was among those who persuaded the French Radical Party to change its position and endorse women’s suffrage following their 1924 congress47. She exerted particular influence as a member of the French commission to reform the civil code regarding married women’s rights (resulting in the law of 18 February 1938)48. Her most significant period of international legal activism would occur after the Second World War (discussed below).

  • 49 M. Berent, Die Zugewinnstgemeinschaft der Ehegatten, Breslau, 1915; F. Mecklenburg, “The Occupation (...)

23Berliner Margarete Berent (1887-1965) completed her legal studies in 1914, writing a thesis on community property in marriage law. Berent became a lawyer in 1925, shortly after the German bar admitted women. She published on a variety of law topics, and together with Marie Munk, wrote the recommendation for the Federation of German Women’s Associations (Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, BDF) that married women have the right to keep their own nationality upon marriage with a foreigner. This law was introduced to the Reichstag in 193249. Her influence across various women’s organizations would be cut short due to anti-Jewish decrees introduced in 1933 by Hitler’s regime. (The impact of Nazism on the FIFCJ examined below.)

  • 50 Jewish-European Emigre Lawyers: Twentieth-Century International Humanitarian Law as Idea and Profes (...)

24As lawyers and judges engagées, the women of the FIFCJ capitalized on organizational, social, and professional opportunities to promote the women’s rights claims that typified the legal feminist movement of the interwar era. Only rarely have historiographies recognized their legal activism as part of a larger analysis of women’s rights history50. Their role as international actors at the League of Nations and for international law is undervalued by scholars. This article posits that their most significant contributions in international law were related to the internationalization of the crime of family abandonment and married women’s autonomous nationality, as explained below.

III. Internationalization of the Crime of Family Abandonment

  • 51 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du sorop (...)
  • 52 A. Dyvrande-Thévenin, “La Fédération international des femmes magistrats et avocats”, La Vie judici (...)
  • 53 Bock, Women in European History, op. cit., p. 182.

25The objective of the FIFCJ during the interwar era was to promote legal equality for women, and call for the end of gender discrimination at the level of individual states, the League of Nations, and the International Labor Organization51. Most uniquely, and little-recognized, they pursued international legal agreements on the criminalization of family abandonment, the abolition of married women’s civil inequality, the standardization of marriage laws, and mechanisms to provide judicial assistance to the indigent52. The pivot point of each proposal was attention to gender inequality in the structure and conditions of family life. In particular, they criticized how law institutionalized patriarchal privilege to the detriment of women and children. In the example of family abandonment, men’s failure to provide for their dependents was a cause of impoverishment and the unreliability of marriage. Feminists, with their experience in the court system, hoped to change material conditions and human behavior by rewriting the law. Historian Gisela Bock argues that actions to improve the situation of motherhood across class lines “were the most significant contributions by and for women in the beginnings and consolidation of the European welfare states”53. In the effort to address the feminization of poverty, feminists pursued varied approaches including advocating for improving women’s opportunities for legal and financial independence, calling for state-sponsored “mothers’ pensions,” and urging legislatures and courts to hold male heads of household accountable. Less well-recognized are the efforts aimed at international law that the FIFCJ member promoted, notably, the international criminalization of family abandonment, discussed here.

  • 54 M. Vérone, “La Situation juridique des enfants naturels”, Le Droit des femmes, mars 1924, p. 6.
  • 55 UN archives, R3085/11C/21623/1931.

26During the interwar years, the FIFCJ endeavored to internationalize the 1924 French model of family abandonment law at a time of ongoing political instability, high refugee mobility, poverty, and famine across Europe. The French law of 10 February 1924 established new punishments for the crime of family abandonment to those who shirked the duty of alimentary support over three months to their spouse and/or dependents. Those convicted could be subject to imprisonment, from three to twelve months, or a fine of 100 to 2,000 francs. Crucially, for unmarried mothers, children could claim support regardless of whether they had been born within the bonds of marriage54. French law also applied to foreigners as well as citizens (Civil Code, Article 3). The voluminous and extant League of Nations files attest to the human tragedy in cases of the indigent and abandoned that humanitarians and feminist jurists sought to address55.

  • 56 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille modern”, La Française, 11 juillet (...)
  • 57 See M. J. Boxer, “Rethinking the Socialist Construction and International Career of the Concept ‘Bo (...)
  • 58 International Council of Women Women’s Position in the Laws of the Nations: A Compilation of the La (...)

27FIFCJ activist and Estonian lawyer Poska-Grunthäl’s argued for the “security of the family” through the respect of “the equal rights and obligations of the spouses towards their children and towards each other”56. This savvy strategy leveraged the less controversial language of “civic maternalism” rather than bourgeois or liberal feminism with its individualistic emphasis57. This maternalistic strategy advocated expanding women’s rights to empower their benevolence for the benefit society’s vulnerable populations. Advocates also used chivalrous rhetoric to justify legal action, arguing that patriarchal failures left women and children in need of protection that could be provided by legal and judicial authorities for the benefit of societal stability58. This issue evoked traditional notions of the family as in need of buttressing through legal protections by criminalizing male-generated harms, such as abandonment.

  • 59 Y. Netter, “La femme et l’enfant: Les victimes du régime matrimonial: les abandonnées”, Le Quotidie (...)
  • 60 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’internationalisation du délit d’abandon de famille”, La Française, 16 février 1 (...)

28Drawing on the discourse about the bourgeois family as the stable foundation of society, FIFCJ general secretary Kraemer-Bach argued that international private law needed to provide mechanisms to protect “la famille, base de la société59. Kraemer-Bach reflected that criminal law could achieve what men’s conscience and civil law had not: force men to reflect on their responsibilities to others, under pain of punishment. She also believed that protective laws would provide international “solidarity among women”. Moreover, she thought men would be less rash when they were no longer “immune” from consequences of abandonment despite the “the ease and rapidity of transport”60. This approach appealed to those political forces who valued the patriarchal family while the feminists hoped to assist women and increase the protective forces of the state for the least powerful.

  • 61 Correspondence, office of desertion of the family, UN Archives (Geneva), R4738/11C/30451/3484; corr (...)
  • 62 UN Archives (Geneva), R4738/11C/26005/3484.
  • 63 A. Colin to M. Kraemer-Bach, 13 August 1931, UN Archives (Geneva), R3085/11C/1931/21623.
  • 64 The International Law Association [Association de droit international], General Assembly, “Jurisdic (...)

29From the 1930s, women’s rights organizations, notably the FIFCJ and ICW pressed the League of Nations to act on the criminalization of family abandonment, as documented in their letters and conferences61. Their allies at the League followed the movement of the consultative committees closely, and thus were able to urge action. (Alexandrine Cantacuzène, ICW vice-president, pressured Vespasian Pella, for example62.) Private correspondence between the League Secretariat of social questions reveals that the FIFCJ was in a position to provide documentation that could potentially persuade reluctant governments to act63. Although the FIFCJ maintained a politically-neutral reputation at the League, gender politics were always controversial. Kraemer-Bach also pressed for support among male colleagues at the International Law Association in hopes that their gravitas might spur the League to catalyze a convention to criminalize family abandonment64.

  • 65 “Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats,” La Française, 25 octobre 1930.
  • 66 UN Archives (Geneva), R4723/11C/18631/712.
  • 67 Journal officiel. Supplément spécial no 174. Actes de la dix-huitieme session ordinaire de l’assemb (...)

30In pursuit of an effective international voice, the FIFCJ formed an “action committee” and lobbied persistently over years65. French attorney Jacqueline Bertillon (1896-1992), member of the Union internationale des avocates organization, wrote letters to League section director Eric Ekstrand, and spoke on the radio, arguing for the criminalization of family abandonment, citing examples from her own clientele. She claimed that some debtor husbands would rather flee the country than pay any required alimony. International law could prevent these scofflaws from escaping responsibility66. The League did not act swiftly on the issue of family abandonment, however. Romanian aristocrat Hélène Vacaresco (Elena Văcărescu) complained in 1937 of obstructionism and that Eckstrand’s Fifth Commission exhibited “indifference” to child and family welfare despite FIFCJ jurists’ “abundant documentation” and multiple appeals for action. The proponents of the criminalization of family abandonment also had the support of eminent jurist Vespasian Pella, but even his influence was no panacea to secure support for this convention67.

  • 68 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’internationalisation du délit,” op. cit., p. 475-486.

31In the post-World War II era, many countries imposed legislation on criminal abandonment but international experts averred that the conflict of laws required resolutions through international law68. The FIFCJ had anticipated this problem. Fortunately, Kraemer-Bach published Les actions alimentaires en droit international. Commentaire des projets des nations unies (1953), to explain the complex international legal solutions. In the text she wrote:

  • 69 M. Kraemer-Bach, Les actions alimentaires en droit international, Paris, Pedone, 1953, p. 6.

The ebb and flow of wars, foreign occupations, migrations of peoples, mass deportations, and the number of these unfortunate [...] ‘displaced persons,’ the ease and speed of travel multiply at an accelerated rate the number of families (wives, children, old parents, even disabled husbands) abandoned by their natural supporters. They die of misery or become public assistance charges69.

  • 70 For the text of the Final Act of the Conference, see United Nations, Treaty Series, 268, p. 3.
  • 71 N. Rubaja and M. Mercedes Albornoz, “The Challenges of the New Social and Scientific Realities in P (...)

She then co-lead the UNESCO-appointed committee of experts to create the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance. This Convention established administrative means to secure material assistance to children under international law, increasing options by which debtors could be held liable, and facilitate enforcement mechanisms. The Convention was designed to ensure parents’ duty to provide for their basic needs of their children. The law, ratified in 1956, would not have existed without the persistence of Kraemer-Bach and her FIFCJ colleagues70. In Latin America today, this convention is still relied upon for cross-border maintenance issues “because it is the instrument that provides answers to most of the maintenance cases in the region”71.

IV. Married Women’s Autonomous Nationality Rights

  • 72 Rupp, Worlds of Women, p. 155.

32Feminist legal activists of the early twentieth century increasingly looked to international law to provide order, coherence, and emancipation through the individual human right to equality and state support of the family. Comprehensive solutions seemed the only rational way to provide equal rights to women across borders. To this point, historian Leila Rupp wrote: “the growing interconnectedness of the modern world meant that questions of labor legislation, nationality, and the traffic in women could only be addressed on the international plane”72.

  • 73 United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations, World Court: Hearings before the C (...)
  • 74 S. L. Kimble, “Politics, Money, and Distrust: French-American Alliances in the International Campai (...)
  • 75 C. L. Bredbenner, A Nationality of Her Own: Women Marriage and the Law of Citizenship, Berkeley, Un (...)

33The FIFCJ also wanted to secure for married women a nationality of their own, independent of their spouse’s nationality. While some nations had granted married women the right to keep their nationality upon marriage with a foreigner, or in the event of naturalization during marriage, this was not generally the case. Laws had evolved to grant women some autonomy in the USSR (1918), Belgium (1922), Estonia (1922), USA (1922), France (1927) and twelve other jurisdictions by 192973. Interwar conditions raised the urgency of the issue where, first, exigencies created situations where married women could (and did) become enemy aliens in their own country due to war. Second, women increasingly expected access to divorce but if they married a foreigner they might lose that right. Third, the right to one’s own nationality as a matter of principle was important for the recognition of one’s individual personhood and full citizenship74. Rights within a nation grew increasingly valuable as xenophobic or authoritarian leaders sought to strip the persecuted of their citizenship75.

  • 76 “Le congrès international féministe”, Bonsoir, 4 juin 1926.
  • 77 “Les femmes contre le code Napoléon”, Le Fronde, 3 juin 1926.
  • 78 B. Bakker-Nort quoted in Le Fronde, 3 juin 1926.
  • 79 International Federation of University Women, Report of the Fifth Conference, Geneva, August 7 to A (...)

34FIFCJ activists argued for an end to marriage law practices that stripped adult women of their fundamental individual rights through coverture or its civil law equivalent. The infantilization of the married woman was, they argued, a kind of sick fiction, as well as a vestige of Roman law in the modern world. At an ICW conference, Belgian pioneering attorney of the FIFCJ Marcelle Renson (1894-1988) asked if anyone could explain how it was possible “that a woman, capable of intelligence before marriage, suddenly becomes like a child when she enters into a legal union”76. Rather than tolerate the “imbecility-by-marriage-contract” argument, Renson demanded the civil rights of spouses to be equal and that “the preeminence of the husband is no longer based on an inferiority of the woman”77. In other words, feminists requested a more equitable future through law: “A new house must be built for the new family, where father, mother and children find equal place”78. Even as some European constitutions promised equal political rights for women few made the necessary reforms to private law, creating stark contrasts between citizens’ rights based on their sex and marital status. This is the historical nexus when feminist jurists repeatedly and vocally demanded an alignment between different branches of the law, to end hypocrisy for adult women who experienced legal subordination and inequality under family laws in ways that had become antithetical to their economic value during wartime mobilization or other employment79.

  • 80 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’incapacité civile de la femme”, Les Cahiers des droits de l’homme, 27, 30 octob (...)

35The issue of married women’s civil incapacity was especially important among the civil code nations that required a wife’s “obedience” and subordination to spousal authority under the law. Married women found themselves restricted in work and travel, unequal in their parental rights, insecure in cases of marital problems. Many misogynist arguments insisted upon women’s inferiority but feminist critics answered that legal and social constructions aligned power to the masculine. Since gender, and the powers associated with masculinity versus femininity, were constructed, they could be dismantled. Kraemer-Bach argued that laws could emancipate women, and recognized that women had the capacity to choose to become wives and mothers but societal expectations of those roles was not destiny, or justification for inferior treatment. She wrote: “Today, she [woman] rejects protection and demands freedom. Laws, lagging behind life, must be brought into line with current customs (mœurs)”80.

  • 81 E. C. DuBois, “Internationalizing Married Women’s Nationality: The Hague Campaign of 1930”, Globali (...)

36The FIFCJ sought international agreements through the League of Nations that could supersede reluctance or intransigence on the national level. This strategy led to mixed results. When delegates debated the issue of married women’s nationality in 1930 at The Hague Conference on International Law, they refused to adopt an egalitarian position. As historians have documented, many feminist organizations attended the conference to argue for gender equality81. Activists received only vague assurances that, at some convenient time in the future, equality would be studied by international lawmakers. In this pledge, Renson saw reasons for cautious optimism:

  • 82 M. Renson, “La Première conference pour la codification progressive du droit international sous les (...)

When States have succeeded, as in this case, in agreeing, even if only on certain points, on a question as delicate as that of nationality, affecting their very existence, and where international law cannot be dissociated from politics, can we not hope for the future82?

  • 83 A. Dyvrande-Thévenin, “La Fédération International des femmes magistrats et avocats”, La Vie judici (...)

Renson did not rely on hope alone. She and Kraemer-Bach formed a team to argue that the automatic assignment of a husband’s nationality to his wife was an infringement of her rights as a person and they explained the disparate impact that the current laws imposed on a woman’s right to work. They lectured at the FIFCJ conferences in Naples (1934) and Vienna (1936), events attended by international jurists and elected officials, to draw attention to the existing legal models that provided wives the greatest level of equality in marriage, including the right to choose a domicile, to maintain property rights within marriage, and to enjoy civil independence. They suggested that until all countries adopted a universal code of private law, newlyweds of different nationality should have the right to declare before an official which national code they intended to follow. Their landmark study on comparative matrimonial law, Le Régime matrimonial des époux dont la nationalité est différente (1939), prepared the groundwork for eventual reform secured through the United Nations83. The UN Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, ratified in January 1957, established a married woman’s right to her nationality, effective in August 1958. It was a long-awaited egalitarian victory achieved in large part by FIFCJ’s members’ persistent efforts in the preceding three decades.

V. The Impacts of Fascism and Nazism

37In the two international conventions advanced by the FIFCJ, the members found success through collective action. The unity they forged, however, was fragmented by the pressure imposed upon them under the authoritarian regimes of Italy, Germany, and Spain where political extremism and discriminatory policies reversed the momentum feminists had generated. In the interwar period, FIFCJ members continued to meet in politically volatile locations including Naples (1934), Vienna and Budapest (1936) as well as Paris (1929, 1930, 1932, 1937) where they witnessed the persecution of some of their colleagues. Politically liberal members organized to resist the increase in discriminatory actions. They also defended liberal views of the family against the fascist or proto-fascist policies that disadvantaged women in public life. Estonian lawyer Poska-Grünthal argued that:

  • 84 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les Femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille moderne”, La Française, 11 juille (...)

In order to face this threat, it is essential to be in contact with women’s efforts in all countries and thus multiply one’s own strength. The political, economic and social conditions are constantly changing, which imposes the need for flexibility in changing methods, tactics and propaganda, always keeping in mind the main idea for which the work is being carried out: the wellbeing and security of the family through the equal rights and obligations of the spouses towards their children and towards themselves84.

Under threat were the multiple campaigns to secure equal rights in marriage law and family law that had been progressing across Europe. In the 1930s, the FIFCJ persisted in arguing for continued family law reforms through Europe such as replacing paternal power with parental authority; establishing legal guarantees for the payment of alimony and child support for fractured families; recognizing the economic value of women’s unpaid work in the household; and for the equalizing the distribution of property in cases of divorce. Across the different political contexts, these liberal jurists called for the strengthening of private law to protect women and children that required state intervention in private life.

  • 85 Adolph Hitler’s Speech to the National Socialist Women’s League [NS-Frauenschaft], September 8, 193 (...)
  • 86 Quoted in Bock, Women in European History, op. cit., p. 190.

38In right-wing regimes, the state was also seeking inroads to restructure private life, to “emancipate” women from women’s emancipation, according to Hitler’s anti-egalitarian ideology85. In fascist Italy, Mussolini declared: “Woman must obey. My idea of her role in the State is in opposition to all feminism”86. Female lawyers could sustain political activism within the context dominated by authoritarian political regimes only if they espoused rhetoric consistent with the politics of the new statist order. In this context, some of the rhetoric from a few female lawyers in Italy and Germany raises questions about the Political role of their discourses and its opportunistic malleability to different contexts. Our interpretation of the available texts is thus more tentative as we are skeptical of the sincerity of ideas that vary with the political winds, especially in Italy.

  • 87 V. de Grazia, How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922 – 1945, Berkeley, UC Press, 1992, p. 91.
  • 88 M. Lucchesi, “Un commento femminista al codice civile Valeria Benetti Brunelli, La donna nella legi (...)
  • 89 De Grazia, Fascism, p. 98.
  • 90 B. Spackman, Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy, Minneapolis, Univ (...)
  • 91 S. Polenghi, “Striving for Recognition: The First Five Female Professors in Italy (1887 – 1904)”, P (...)
  • 92 M. Noger, “La Femme et le Fascisme”, La Fronde, 2 décembre 1926.

39In Mussolini’s Italy, law professor Teresa Labriola (1873-1941) was, according to historian Victoria de Grazia, “the most assertive advocate” of the state’s right to eradicate male irresponsibility related to the family. This meant punishment for men who seduced minors, requiring that men who fathered children outside of marriage to support them, and protection of property from martial abuse87. Labriola, a lawyer since 1919, had deep roots in the women’s rights movement in Italy, having led discussions on legal questions such as marital authorization, marital powers, adultery, paternity suits, defense and corruption of minors at the National Congress of Italian Women (1908)88. Yet she made alliances with the fascists to promote the idea that women were the pillars of the family and the family was the pillar of the state89. Moreover, she came to view “mothers” as a legal classification. Italian studies scholar Barbara Spackman writes that Labriola invoked mothers as a having “rights and duties insofar as they occupy a juridical position […] faithful to Roman law, that juridical position is dependent upon marriage”90. In this ideology, the fascist mother is a social fiction whose legal identity exists “not because she had children but because she was the wife of a paterfamilias,” with rights and duties only because she conforms to the patriarchal, heterosexual family within the fascist state. Labriola maintained “the view that in an ethical state, differences between the sexes could be safeguarded in a superior unity”91. Labriola published hundreds of articles over her lifetime, including for the popular La Donna italiana during the interwar years. While she adhered to fascism for a time, and thus drew the scorn of her peers and socialist colleagues, she ultimately grew disillusioned with this ideology92.

  • 93 M. L. Riccio, L’evoluzione della politica annonaria a Napoli dal 1503 al 1806, Napoli, F. Sangiovan (...)
  • 94 F. Tacchi, Eva Togata. Donne e professioni giuridiche in Italia dall’Unità a oggi, Torino, UTET Lib (...)

40Also in Italy, Maria Letizia Riccio (b. 1892), had been quick to affiliate with the FIFCJ but struggled against fascist pressures. Riccio worked as a teacher before completing a degree in law, writing a thesis on historic rational monetary policy (1923)93. She witnessed the modest increase of women in the Italian legal profession from 85 in 1921 to 180 members in 193194. She established the Italian Federation of Women Jurists (Federazione italiana donne giuriste) in 1930.

  • 95 Tacchi, Eva Togata, p. 72.
  • 96 Study authored by Filomina de Stefano of Naples. See Almanacco della donna Italiana, 1931, p. 383-3 (...)
  • 97 F. Ceccon Marx, L. Furlan, M. L. Riccio, G. Ceccon Compagnoni, L. Furlan, T. Labriola, M. Ferrari P (...)
  • 98 Quoted in S. Soldani, “Interpretare, circoscrivere, stravolgere…: Una legge progressista nel turbin (...)
  • 99 M. Malatesta, Professional Men, Professional Women: The European Professions from the 19th Century (...)
  • 100 Tacchi, Eva Togata, p. 76.

41According to writer Francesca Tacchi, Riccio’s political energies focused on politico-legal reform as it related to the family. Riccio asserted that the family was not only the “most suitable and most interesting field of investigation” but the “only subject” for female lawyers “since the family was felt by all”95. The Italian female lawyers also contributed to the FIFCJ’s study of the internationalization of family abandonment by sending a study on the new Italian penal code to Paris96. Additionally, the Italian female jurists authored a lengthy analysis of fascism’s impact on family law, divorce, and maternity and infant assistance in The Woman and the Family in Fascist Legislation (1933) where they promoted legal protections for women and children97. Simultaneously, the Italian female lawyers campaigned against quotas limiting women’s employment in public administration, protested their exclusion from the electorate and judiciary, demanded shared parental authority, and requested the inclusion of female jurists on all code reform commissions. Yet modifications of the original 1919 Sacchi law led to a curtailment of women’s access to the professions with little right of redress. Equal rights in the family did not progress under Mussolini; Riccio politely referred to the stalled situation as an “absence of evolution” toward greater “equality of rights”98. Feminist lawyers who wished to criticize fascist policy had to be cautious. A 1926 law “made it possible to block the enrolment of lawyers disagreeable to the regime or to expel them from the profession”99. Riccio was subject to surveillance by the fascist political police from at least 1941100. Consequently, her public record is unlikely to fully represent her ideas.

42The situation in Nazi Germany was even more dangerous. In 1933, the legal profession was purged of all Jews and critics of Nazism, and female attorneys and judges were no longer appointed. An oath of obedience to Adolf Hitler was required by anyone who remained in the profession. The German-born Victoria Lorenz testified before the Americans’ National Association of Women Lawyers:

  • 101 V. Lorenz, “German Women Lawyers and Judges of Today”, Women Lawyers’ Journal, 21/1, 1934, p. 12 an (...)

Germany today has wiped out one hundred years of progress. All liberal thought is suppressed and the women of the nation are encouraged to consider themselves only in terms of their value in adding to the population101.

  • 102 K. H. Jarausch, “The Perils of Professionalism: Lawyers, Teachers, and Engineers in Nazi Germany [1 (...)

Lorenz also lamented that under the Nazis loyalty was valued over knowledge among employees of the department of justice. Historian Konrad Jarausch argues for German attorneys to survive in the Nazi state they needed a new type of “ideological-political” orientation and a “reactionary modernist” identity. Many attorneys chose “material security over professional freedom” and chose to shore up the Nazi regime102. At least one female attorney was among them: Ilse Eben-Servaes, member of the Nazi Women’s League (NS-Frauenschaft).

  • 103 M. Röwekamp, Juristinnen: Lexikon zu Leben und Werk, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2005, p. 90.
  • 104 J. Stephenson, Women in Nazi Society, London, Routledge, 2014, p. 164.
  • 105 C. von Oertzen, Science, Gender, and Internationalism: Women’s Academic Networks, 1917-1955, New Yo (...)
  • 106 Stephenson, Women in Nazi Society, p. 169-171.
  • 107 R. Leck, “Conservative Empowerment and the Gender of Nazism”, Journal of Women’s History, 12/2, 200 (...)

43The career of Ilse Eben-Servaes (1894 – 1981) grew as she came to represent German female jurists at international meetings of the FIFCJ. She served as the leader of the Nazi association of female lawyers, and legal advisor to Gertrud Scholtz-Klink of the Reich Women’s Leadership (1934 – 1942), director of a section of the German Women’s Welfare Agency, and member on the Committee for Family Law from 1943103. Historian Jill Stephenson argued that within Nazi society politically loyal female leaders were kept firmly in check under the male hierarchy, or within sex-segregated groups that afforded them little power and emphasized their status as women104. Nevertheless, historian Christine von Oertzen remarked that even Eben-Servaes was determined to have female lawyers’ voices heard by the government and attempted to secure a channel for political influence105. Eben-Servaes defended Aryan girls’ right to study law and advocated women’s employment in the profession by arguing that women should attend to other women’s legal affairs106. Her advocacy for women was consistent with Nazi patriarchy where sexual differentiation was an important structural and symbolic aspect of the social order. Historian Ralph Leck argues that a “feminine” consciousness and Nazi family values depended upon the male/female gender binary and its maintenance affirmed the “institutional and symbolic system of patriarchal difference”107. Thus it was possible for Eben-Servaes to find affirmation through the ideology of motherhood in this context of Nazi politics of cultural and racial superiority and gender divergence.

  • 108 See J. Stephenson, “Girls’ Higher Education in Germany in the 1930s”, Journal of Contemporary Histo (...)
  • 109 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille moderne”, La Française, 11 juille (...)
  • 110 See C. Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics, New York, St. Martin’ (...)
  • 111 E. Jaffe Mohr, “Women Lawyers in Central Europe”, Women Lawyers’ Journal, 23/4, 1937, p. 6-9.
  • 112 Z. Szulcowa, “Bericht über die in Wien abgehaltene Kongresse”, Palestra. Fachzeitschrift der Warsch (...)
  • 113 Dr. I. Eben-Servaes, “Ehe und Volkgemeinschaft”, Zeitschrift: Schweizer Frauenblatt: Organ für Frau (...)
  • 114 Letter dated March  1, 1938. UN Archives, R473/11B/29874/26725.

44Eben-Servaes participated in the 1936 FIFCJ congress where the other members rejected her fascist views. At the meeting, the FIFCJ majority endorsed a de-escalation of jingoistic rhetoric and defense of the politically persecuted. In this climate, Eben-Servaes’ attempt to push for acceptance of racially discriminatory policies fell completely flat108. Controversially, she promoted eugenics and favored the use of prenuptial certificates of spousal health to insure “healthy reproduction”109. Such certificates were tools in the Nazi pursuit of so-called “racial purity” and illustrate how Nazi women contributed to the “social side of tyranny” (to use Claudia Koonz’s phrase)110. Other FIFCJ members condemned any policies based on “racial purity” as uncivilized, politically motivated, and state-controlled111. They also rejected Eben-Servaes’ argument that unmarried mothers should be required to name putative fathers, and that racial considerations were paramount112. Eben-Servaes was unpersuasive to her more democratic peers. She persisted, however, in asserting her views on the so-called legal “reorganization” of the rights of children born out of wedlock, interpreting European laws through the lens of racial, political and eugenic factors in the Germany-language Swiss press113. Other FIFCJ members responded in part by silencing her proposals, choosing not to disseminate them beyond the closed circle of the conferences. For example, Kraemer-Bach wrote a letter to Erik Ekstrand, the director of social questions at the League of Nations, in which she discussed the FIFCJ’s comparative legal study on illegitimate children and the means to ameliorate their status, but made no mention of Eben-Servaes’s racial proposals114. Eben-Servaes’ ideas were thus quashed.

  • 115 “Une lettre d’Anna Pauker à Ella Negruzzi”, L’Humanité, 25 février 1936.
  • 116 “Le procès d’Anna Pauker”, Le Petit Journal, 3 juillet 1936.
  • 117 “En Roumanie”, L’Humanité, 31 janvier 1936; “Les avocats d’Anna Pauker menacés de mort”, L’Humanité(...)
  • 118 Sauvez Liselotte Hermann!: Femmes et mères empêchez ce crime, Paris, Editions Universelles, 1938, p (...)
  • 119 “Une jeune mère condamnée à mort à Stuttgart”, Bulletin de la LICA, 30 October 1937.

45The FIFCJ majority was publically anti-fascist and they demonstrated their political commitments by defending political prisoners. A coalition of feminists and anti-fascists supported Romanian attorney Ella Negruzzi (1876-1949), a FIFCJ member, as she sought to secure the freedom of Anna Pauker, a political prisoner in Bucharest. Pauker, a Jewish Communist teacher shot in the legs during her 1935 arrest, was a cause célèbre among activists who rallied with petitions signed by thousands, and sent letters calling for her liberation115. Negruzzi also appealed to international audiences to help with the defense of democratic freedoms at stake in the trial. This appeal was answered in part by a team of twenty-four attorneys including women from Belgium, England, and France116. Negruzzi faced death threats for helping Pauker117. Similarly, European feminist lawyers rallied to defend Liselotte Herrmann, a young German Communist imprisoned from 1935 to 1938 for her political views. Dyvrande-Thévènin, French president of the FIFCJ, appealed for Herrmann’s freedom118. In both Pauker and Herrmann’s cases, attorneys emphasized the fact that the defendants were mothers, and downplayed their Communism. Herrmann was the mother to a young son; her defenders beseeched the court not to make him an orphan119. This strategy evoked sympathy for the defendants as vulnerable maternal figures, and defanged them as political actors despite the fact that avocates engagées valued women’s political activism.

  • 120 History of Women in the West, vol. 5, ed. F. Thébaud, Cambridge, Belknap Press of Harvard Universit (...)
  • 121 G. Le Béguec, Avocats et barreaux en France, 1910-1930, Nancy, Presses universitaires de Nancy, 199 (...)
  • 122 Poster, Le comité radical et Radical-Socialiste, pour Madame Kraemer-Bach. Elections municipales 19 (...)
  • 123 M. Kraemer-Bach, La Longue Route, Paris, La pensée universelle, 1988.
  • 124 Leck, “Conservative Empowerment and the Gender of Nazism”, p. 151.

46While diametrically opposed in their politics, Marcelle Kraemer-Bach of the French Radical Party and Ilse Eben-Servaes of the German National Socialists, were both examples of women who were “nationalized,” that is, they promoted political priorities that were aligned with their concept of the nation. Historian Françoise Thébaud pointed to the power of the “nationalization of women” that resulted in the sweeping away of “old distinctions between private and public, family and government, individuals and the state. Governments of every stripe – from social-democratic Sweden and republican France to the fascist and Nazi dictatorships – attempted to ‘nationalize’ their female citizens”120. In the case of Kraemer-Bach, she served as a secretary of the central council of the Radical Party from 1929, and was appointed to a position within the Ministry of Public Health where she facilitated an assistance program for abandoned families. In 1932, she worked as a lawyer under Prime Minister Edouard Herriot, the first woman to hold such a position121. She campaigned for women’s suffrage, and married women’s civil equality. Despite women’s formal exclusion from electoral rights, she stood as a political candidate in the municipal elections representing the seventeenth arrondissement of Paris in 1935, to promote her own feminist political agenda within the confines of the Radical Party122. Kraemer-Bach also opposed antisemitism from personal and political perspectives123. There is no reason for republican Kraemer-Bach and Nazi-stalwart Eben-Servaes to see eye-to-eye. Nevertheless, they both saw the power of law to change people’s lives. That Nazi women would also perceive a place for themselves in promoting law that reinforced gender dimorphism and “pro-family” (that is, the Volkish-family) policies should not surprise us despite the obvious and profound differences between the contexts of these examples. The Nazi “politics of difference” were not necessarily anti-patriarchal124.

  • 125 L. Koplowitz, “Le juge de tutelle en Allemagne. Séance du 19 janvier 1934”, Travaux pratiques de dr (...)
  • 126 “La Chronique Judicaire. In memoriam. Me Eliane de la Haye-Selig”, Journal des Tribunaux [Brussels] (...)

47While Eben-Servaes pressed her Nazi agenda, other FIFCJ women fled for their lives, or assisted the persecuted. The hardships of German-Jewish judge Lilli (Koplowitz) Selig (1899-1969) illustrates the dangers posed by fascist regimes, and the limited possibilities of resistance. Under the Weimar Republic, Selig worked as a civil judge in Berlin and Potsdam, participated in Paris meetings of the FIFCJ, and lent her prestige to lobby for female judges in France. In 1933, however, she was excluded from her position by Nazi antisemitic decrees and forced to flee the country. A refugee in France, she joined the Institut de droit comparé (Paris, 1934), published academic articles, re-started her legal career, and aided other refugees125. The fall of France to the Germans in 1940 led to renewed persecution and even her imprisonment in the French camp of Les Milles from where she only narrowly escaped126. Her Jewish colleagues in Nazi-occupied Europe were similarly under siege.

  • 127 C. Campoamor, “La Révolution espagnole vue de Madrid par une Républicaine”, Revue universelle, 1 an (...)
  • 128 J. Picard, La Suisse et les juifs, 1933-1945, Lausanne, Editions d’en bas, 2000, p. 215 and 218.
  • 129 F. Regard, “Histoire orale d’un réfugié juif en Suisse (Henri Silberman) ou comment l’Histoire peut (...)
  • 130 “La commission pour l’aide extraordinaire aux Suisses à l’étranger et rapatriés victimes de la guer (...)

48FIFCJ members were well aware of the suffering of their persecuted colleagues and tried to alleviate it. Antoinette Quinche offered refuge to Clara Campoamor (and her family) who fled threats from the rise of the right-wing Falangists during the Spanish civil war. When Quinche translated Campoamor’s memoir into French, it underscore the need for women’s rights127. In Switzerland, Quinche’s legal practice responded to the intensifying refugee crisis in Europe. She became involved with at least forty individual cases of refugee couples whose immigration was effected by their mixed nationality and statelessness as a result of Nazi laws128. Quinche even confronted the Swiss chief of police and head of the Federal Immigration office Heinrich Rothmund, a known xenophobe, to secure the release of members of the Silberman family from Swiss refugee camps during 1942-1943129. After the war, she served on a commission to secure compensation to citizens who had survived persecution130. Such actions were consistent with her lifelong commitment to redressing injustices.

  • 131 S. L. Kimble, “Internationalist Women against Nazi Atrocities in Occupied Europe, 1941 – 1947”, Jou (...)

49The wartime history of Polish juvenile court judge Wanda Grabińska illustrates the importance of international women’s networks for survival and anti-fascist protests. Grabińska’s flight from Warsaw following the German invasion of 1939 was aided by American feminist Alice Paul in Geneva and the International Federation of University Women. Once Grabińska settled in London and found employment with the Polish Government-in-Exile, she rallied her feminist allies to issue a formal protest against Nazi atrocities. This protest, published in 1942, condemned war crimes and circulated among the Allied governments with astute attention to the gendered nature of violence. When the Polish refugee jurist Raphael Lemkin sought help securing the introduction and ratification of the Genocide Convention at the UN, these same networks of activist women assembled to support his cause131. By 1945, internationalist feminists had long experience using law and alliances to pursue legal protections for human rights.

V. Conclusion

50Apolitical statutes aside, the hallmark of the FIFCJ was political engagement in legal reform. FIFCJ activists who represented liberal and democratic nations rejected the exclusionary structure of patriarchal societies and claimed the right to act beyond their own national borders through international organizations. Examining this history through the lens of political cause lawyering reveals that this activist corps endeavored to address gender-based injustices of their time, especially legal inequality in individual rights, discrimination against married women, and the absence of a safety net for children. Their activism stemmed from their legal training, observation of the inequities that brought people into the court system, and the faith in international solutions proffered by the League of Nations, legal conventions, and, later, the United Nations. Their criticism of inequality underscored the correlation between women’s position under family law and its crossover into their individual rights. Their intervention into international law in the two examples explained herein (e.g., nationality rights and criminalization of abandonment) attempted to supersede national differences in private law to secure binding and “universal” conventions.

  • 132 “Les pérsecutions hitlériennes contre les associations féministes allemandes”, La Française, 1 juil (...)

51It is difficult to explain the involvement of the Italian fascist and Nazis women in the interwar meetings of the FIFCJ yet it seems likely that tolerance and cooperation trumped exclusive membership practices during the 1930s. Until the outbreak of war in 1939, even the mainstream French feminist newspaper La Française depicted German women as victims of current events, and the French leadership continued to promote notions of international sisterhood in hopes of encouraging peaceful coexistence among nations132. Available evidence does indicate that the lone Nazi delegate advocated racist proposals but these ideas were rejected and suppressed by the democratic majority. Cross-cultural identity that had been cultivated for decades as the foundation for international feminisms endured these trying times in ways that tolerated political differences even at the risk of temporary appeasement. In the case of Italy, the female jurists and lawyers were divided among themselves whether to accommodate the rhetoric of the fascists in order to pursue their own priorities despite the shifting political climate. One can conclude, nevertheless, that the majority of FIFCJ’s efforts were oriented towards the promotion of a pro-women’s rights legal platform, resistance to both antifeminism and fascism, and an appeal for diplomatic solutions to global political crises. The FIFCJ operated at intersecting nexuses of nationalism and internationalism where most of its members were motivated to bend the arc of law toward gender equality and the protection of the family. In the process, the pro-family policies and defense of gender difference fostered an uneasy coexistence among those who sought a wide variety of ambitious legal reforms.

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Notes

1 Statutes reprinted in M. Kraemer-Bach, “Fédération internationale des femmes avocats”, La Française, 9 novembre 1929. The organization changed to Fédération internationale des femmes des carrières juridiques (FIFCJ) in 1952 and by which it is known today.

2 M. Minow, “Political Lawyering: An Introduction”, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 31/2, 1996.

3 For contemporary cases see C. Menkel-Meadow, “Causes of Cause Lawyering: Toward an Understanding of the Motivations and Commitments of Social Justice Lawyers”, Cause Lawyering: Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities, eds. A. Sarat and S. Scheingold, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 31-68.

4 L. Israël, “From Cause Lawyering to Resistance: French Communist Lawyers in the Shadow of History (1929-1945)”, The Worlds Cause Lawyers Make: Structure and Agency in Legal Practice, eds. A. Sarat and S. Scheingold, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2005.

5 F. Batlan, “The Ladies’ Health Protective Association: Lay Lawyers and Urban Cause Lawyering”, Akron Law Review, 41, 2008, p. 701-731; Histories of Legal Aid: A Comparative and International Perspective, eds. F. Batlan and M. Vasara-Aaltonen, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2023.

6 See Mothers of a New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States, eds. S. Koven and S. Michel, New York, Routledge, 1993.

7 S. L. Kimble and M. Röwekamp, “Introduction: Legal Cultures and Communities of Female Protest in Modern European History, 1860-1960s”, New Perspectives on European Women’s Legal History, eds. S. L. Kimble and M. Röwekamp, New York, Routledge, 2017, p. 1-24.

8 S. L. Kimble, “The Rise of ‘Modern Portias’: Female Lawyers and Activism in Third Republic France”, New Perspectives on European Women’s Legal History, eds. S. L. Kimble and M. Röwekamp, New York, Routledge, 2017, p. 125-151.

9 P. Amorosa, Rewriting the History of the Law of Nations: How James Brown Scott Made Francisco de Vitoria the Founder of International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019, p. 313-314.

10 J. H. Quataert and L. Wildenthal, “Introduction: An Open-Ended and Contingent History of Human Rights”, The Routledge History of Human Rights, Oxon/New York, Routledge, 2020, p. 21-40.

11 S. Djajić, “Standing Alone but Standing Tall: A Female Perspective of International Law from the Interwar Yugoslavia”, Legal Issues of International Law from a Gender Perspective, eds. I. Krstić, M. Evola, M. I. Ribes Moreno, Cham, Switzerland, Springer, 2023, p. 199-224; G. Sluga, “Women, Feminisms and Twentieth-Century Internationalisms”, Internationalisms: A Twentieth-Century History, eds. G. Sluga and P. Clavin, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016, p. 61-84; I. Tallgren ed., Portraits of Women in International Law: New Names and Forgotten Faces?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2023.

12 M. Craven, “Theorizing the Turn to History in International Law”, The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 21-37; T. Skouteris, “The Turn to History in International Law”, Oxford Bibliographies of International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1093/OBO/9780199796953-0154.

13 S. L. Kimble, “Women’s Rights and The Rights of Man: Women’s Status Under Law as the Measure of ‘Civilization’ in French Political and Legal Discourse, 1869-1914”, Laws and International Relations: Actors, Institutions, and Comparative Legislations, eds. Raphaël Cahen et al., Paris, Pedone, 2023, chapter 3 (forthcoming).

14 K. Offen, The Woman Question in France, 1400-1870, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017; and K. Offen, Debating the Woman Question in the French Third Republic, 1870 – 1920, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

15 For European history see European Women’s Legal History, op. cit.; on Arenal see I. de la Rasilla, “Concepción Arenal and the place of women in modern international law”, Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis, 88/1-2, 2020, p. 211-253.

16 H. Charlesworth and C. Chinkin, The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis, Yonkers, Juris Publ., 2000; N. Kaufman Hevener, International Law and the Status of Women, Boulder, Westview Press, 1983 starts at 1945.

17 A. Nussbaum, A Concise History of the Law of Nations, New York, Macmillan, 1950, p. 191 and 198.

18 On abolition see: J. B. Stewart and K. K. Sklar, Women’s Rights and Transatlantic Antislavery in the Era of Emancipation, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2008.

19 S. L. Kimble, “Transatlantic Networks for Legal Feminism, 1888 – 1912”, Forging Bonds across Borders. Transatlantic Collaborations for Women’s Rights and Social Justice in the Long Nineteenth Century, German Historical Institute Bulletin Supplement, eds. B. Waldschmidt-Nelson and A. Schüler, 13, 2017, p. 55-73.

20 S. L. Kimble, “The International Federation of Women in the Legal and Juridical Careers: A Brief History”, Jüdische Juristinnen, Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V. (DJB) Bundesgeschäftsstelle / National German Lawyers Association, Munich, Verlag, 2019, p. 62-66.

21 FIFCJ, Fédération internationale des femmes des carrières juridiques. 60 années d’histoire, Melun, FIFCJ, 1989.

22 Most relevant: ATRIA (Amsterdam); Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand (Paris); Centre des archives du féminisme (Angers); Schlesinger Library of Women’s History (Cambridge, Massachusetts); Women’s Library (London); Women and Social Movements International (Alexander Street, online).

23 M. Kraemer-Bach, La Longue Route, Paris, La pensée universelle, 1988; V. Poska-Grünthal, See oli Eestis: 1919-1944, Välis-Eesti & EMP, Stockholm, 1975.

24 See M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du Soroptimist-Club, janvier 1935, p. 5; S. Tamul, “Vera (Veera) Poska-Grünthal”, A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms. Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries, eds. F. de Haan, K. Daskalova, and A. Loutfi, Budapest/New York, Central European University Press, 2006, p. 451-452.

25 On Polish participation in FIFCJ see I. Dadej, “‘The Napoleonic Civil Code is to Blame for My Decision to Study Law’: Female Law Students and Lawyers in the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939)”, New Perspectives on European Women’s Legal History, eds. S. L. Kimble and M. Röwekamp, New York, Routledge, 2017, p. 217-246.

26 L. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1997.

27 “L’Union Internationale des avocates”, La Française, 13 octobre 1928.

28 D. Gorman, The Emergence of International Society in the 1920s, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

29 Poska-Grünthal, See oli Eestis, op. cit., p. 91-94; unpublished translation by Merike Lepasaar Beecher. Poska-Grünthal attended the First Convention on Social Work (Première Conférence internationale de service social) at the invitation of the ICW as representive of the Association of Estonian Women. See Première conférence internationale du service social: Paris, 8 – 13 juillet 1928, Paris, Union, 1928.

30 For example: E. E. Bowerman, The Law of Child Protection, London, 1933; W. Woytowicz-Grabińska and J. I. Wall, Principles Applicable to the Functioning of Juvenile Courts and Similar Bodies, Auxiliary Services and Institutions, Geneva, League of Nations, 1937.

31 Dyvrande-Thévenin quoted in E. Charrier, LÉvolution intellectuelle féminine, Paris, Mechelinck, 1931, p. 351.

32 M. Kraemer-Bach, “En passant Galerie Marchande: Me Agathe Dyvrande-Thévenin”, La Vie judiciaire, 20-21 janvier 1935, p. 1 – 2.

33 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du Soroptimist-Club, janvier 1935, p. 5.

34 Kimble, “The Rise of ‘Modern Portias’”, op. cit.

35 C. Bard, Les Filles de Marianne : Histoire des féminismes 1914-1940, Paris, Fayard, 1995.

36 M. Nash, Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War, Denver, Arden Press, 1995, p. 41.

37 C. Campoamor, La Révolution espagnole, Paris, Plon, 1937.

38 Grabińska (aka Woytowicz-Grabińska) was one of perhaps seventeen female judges working in Poland before World War II according to L. Bachman, “Women in Poland”, Women Lawyers’ Journal, 34/1, 1948, p. 17-20 and 35-36.

39 Additionally, co-author of Principles Applicable to the Functioning of Juvenile Courts and Similar Bodies, Auxiliary Services and Institutions, Geneva, League of Nations publications, 1937.

40 W. Grabinska, “L’Enfant devant le tribunal”, Première assemblée générale de l’association internationale des juges des enfants. Journées des 26, 27, 28 et 29 juillet 1930, ed. Association internationale des juges des enfants Brussels, J. Lebègue, 1931, p. 52 – 69.

41 S. L. Kimble, “Popular Legal Journalism in the Writings of Maria Vérone”, Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, 39, 2011, p. 224-235.

42 A. R. Ziegler, “The Role of Learned Societies in the Development of International and European Law in Switzerland”, Swiss Review of International and European Law, 32/1, 2022, p. 3-22.

43 Elina Guimarães: Una feminist Portuguese, Vida e Obra (1904-1991), Lisbon, Comissão para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres, 2004. My thanks to Anne Cova for this book.

44 A. Cova, “The National Council of Women in France, Italy and Portugal: Comparisons and Entanglements, 1888-1939”, Gender History in a Transnational Perspective: Networks, Biographies, Gender Orders, eds. O. Janz and D. Schönpflug, New York, Berghahn, 2014, p. 46-76.

45 E. Guimarães, “Evolução da situação jurídica da mulher portuguesa”, Cadernos de hoje, 8, c. 1969, available at ATRIA, Institute on gender equality and women’s history.

46 V. Baptista and P. Marques Alves, “Women in the Mutual Societies of Portugal”, Women, Work, and Activism: Chapters of an Inclusive History of Labor in the Long Twentieth Century, eds. E. Betti, L. Papastefanaki, M. Tolomelli, S. Zimmermann, Budapest/New York, CEU Press, 2022, p. 56.

47 C. Formaglio, “Féministe d’abord”: Cécile Brunschvicg (1877 – 1946), Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2014, p. 229-232.

48 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La capacité de la femme mariée en droit français (loi du 18 février 1938) et en droit comparé”, La Revue pratique de droit international, 26, octobre-novembre 1937, p. 3-30.

49 M. Berent, Die Zugewinnstgemeinschaft der Ehegatten, Breslau, 1915; F. Mecklenburg, “The Occupation of Women Emigrés: Women Lawyers in the United States”, Between Sorrow and Strength: Women Refugees of the Nazi Period, ed. S. Quack, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 296-329; New Perspectives on European Women’s Legal History, op. cit.

50 Jewish-European Emigre Lawyers: Twentieth-Century International Humanitarian Law as Idea and Profession, eds. L. Bilsky and A. Weinke, Gottingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2021; Women in Law and Lawmaking in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Europe, ed. E. Schandevyl, Oxon, Routledge, 2016.

51 M. Kraemer-Bach, “La Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats”, Bulletin du soroptimist-club, janvier 1935, p. 5.

52 A. Dyvrande-Thévenin, “La Fédération international des femmes magistrats et avocats”, La Vie judiciaire, 10 novembre 1934.

53 Bock, Women in European History, op. cit., p. 182.

54 M. Vérone, “La Situation juridique des enfants naturels”, Le Droit des femmes, mars 1924, p. 6.

55 UN archives, R3085/11C/21623/1931.

56 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille modern”, La Française, 11 juillet 1936.

57 See M. J. Boxer, “Rethinking the Socialist Construction and International Career of the Concept ‘Bourgeois Feminism’”, The American Historical Review, 112/1, February 2007, p. 131-158.

58 International Council of Women Women’s Position in the Laws of the Nations: A Compilation of the Laws of Different Countries, Prepared by the I.C.W. Standing Committee on Laws Concerning the Legal Position of Women, Karlsruhe, Braun, 1912.

59 Y. Netter, “La femme et l’enfant: Les victimes du régime matrimonial: les abandonnées”, Le Quotidien, 7 octobre 1925; M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’internationalisation du délit d’abandon de famille”, Nouvelle Revue de droit international privé, 13, 1946, p. 475-486.

60 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’internationalisation du délit d’abandon de famille”, La Française, 16 février 1929.

61 Correspondence, office of desertion of the family, UN Archives (Geneva), R4738/11C/30451/3484; correspondance avec le conseil international des femmes, UN Archives (Geneva), R3951/5A/3614/394.

62 UN Archives (Geneva), R4738/11C/26005/3484.

63 A. Colin to M. Kraemer-Bach, 13 August 1931, UN Archives (Geneva), R3085/11C/1931/21623.

64 The International Law Association [Association de droit international], General Assembly, “Jurisdiction and Recognition in Divorce”, Report of The Thirty-Seventh Conference Held at Oxford Hall of the Union Society, August 8th to 12th, 1932, London, The Eastern Press, 1933, p. 65-88.

65 “Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats,” La Française, 25 octobre 1930.

66 UN Archives (Geneva), R4723/11C/18631/712.

67 Journal officiel. Supplément spécial no 174. Actes de la dix-huitieme session ordinaire de l’assemblée séances des commissions procès-verbal de la cinquième commission (questions humanitaires et générales), Genève, Société des nations, 1937), p. 18, 28, 74, 77.

68 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’internationalisation du délit,” op. cit., p. 475-486.

69 M. Kraemer-Bach, Les actions alimentaires en droit international, Paris, Pedone, 1953, p. 6.

70 For the text of the Final Act of the Conference, see United Nations, Treaty Series, 268, p. 3.

71 N. Rubaja and M. Mercedes Albornoz, “The Challenges of the New Social and Scientific Realities in Private International Family Law – The Latin American Experience”, Diversity and Integration in Private International Law, ed. V. Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2019, p. 277-278.

72 Rupp, Worlds of Women, p. 155.

73 United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations, World Court: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, April 6 and May 7, 1932, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1932, p. 50.

74 S. L. Kimble, “Politics, Money, and Distrust: French-American Alliances in the International Campaign for Women’s Equal Rights, 1925-1930”, Practiced Citizenship: Women, Gender and the State in Modern France, eds. Nimisha Barton and Richard Hopkins, Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 2019, p. 219-260.

75 C. L. Bredbenner, A Nationality of Her Own: Women Marriage and the Law of Citizenship, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998.

76 “Le congrès international féministe”, Bonsoir, 4 juin 1926.

77 “Les femmes contre le code Napoléon”, Le Fronde, 3 juin 1926.

78 B. Bakker-Nort quoted in Le Fronde, 3 juin 1926.

79 International Federation of University Women, Report of the Fifth Conference, Geneva, August 7 to August 14, 1929, London, IFUW, 1929, p. 134.

80 M. Kraemer-Bach, “L’incapacité civile de la femme”, Les Cahiers des droits de l’homme, 27, 30 octobre 1928, p. 627-630.

81 E. C. DuBois, “Internationalizing Married Women’s Nationality: The Hague Campaign of 1930”, Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945, ed. K. Offen, London, Routledge, 2010, p. 204-216.

82 M. Renson, “La Première conference pour la codification progressive du droit international sous les auspices de la Société des nations,” Institut Belge de droit comparé, Revue trimestrielle, 16/3, juillet-septembre 1930, p. 113-132.

83 A. Dyvrande-Thévenin, “La Fédération International des femmes magistrats et avocats”, La Vie judiciaire, 10 novembre 1934; M. Kraemer-Bach and M. Renson, Le Régime matrimonial des époux dont la nationalité est différente: rapport présenté à la Fédération internationale des femmes magistrats et avocats en 1934 et 1935, Paris, A. Pedone, 1939.

84 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les Femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille moderne”, La Française, 11 juillet 1936.

85 Adolph Hitler’s Speech to the National Socialist Women’s League [NS-Frauenschaft], September 8, 1934.

86 Quoted in Bock, Women in European History, op. cit., p. 190.

87 V. de Grazia, How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922 – 1945, Berkeley, UC Press, 1992, p. 91.

88 M. Lucchesi, “Un commento femminista al codice civile Valeria Benetti Brunelli, La donna nella legislazione italiana (1908) Prime note sul diritto privato e pubblico”, Historia et ius, 17, 2020, p. 1-37.

89 De Grazia, Fascism, p. 98.

90 B. Spackman, Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1996, p. 47.

91 S. Polenghi, “Striving for Recognition: The First Five Female Professors in Italy (1887 – 1904)”, Paedagogica Historica, 56/6, December 2020, p. 748-768.

92 M. Noger, “La Femme et le Fascisme”, La Fronde, 2 décembre 1926.

93 M. L. Riccio, L’evoluzione della politica annonaria a Napoli dal 1503 al 1806, Napoli, F. Sangiovanni & Figlio, 1923.

94 F. Tacchi, Eva Togata. Donne e professioni giuridiche in Italia dall’Unità a oggi, Torino, UTET Libreria, 2009, p. 72-77.

95 Tacchi, Eva Togata, p. 72.

96 Study authored by Filomina de Stefano of Naples. See Almanacco della donna Italiana, 1931, p. 383-385.

97 F. Ceccon Marx, L. Furlan, M. L. Riccio, G. Ceccon Compagnoni, L. Furlan, T. Labriola, M. Ferrari Partesotti, L. de Stefano, P. Ravenna, L. Riva Sanseverino, La donna e la famiglia nella legislazione fascista, Federazione ital. donne giuriste aderente alla Fédération internat. des femmes magistrats, avocats, ou qui exercent une autre carrière juridique, Napoli, Ed. de “La toga”, 1933.

98 Quoted in S. Soldani, “Interpretare, circoscrivere, stravolgere…: Una legge progressista nel turbine della reazione”, Cittadinanze incompiute: La parabola dell’autorizzazione maritale, ed. S. Bartolini, Rome, Viella, 2021, p. 99-142. An estimate of 50 practicing female lawyers was made by M. L. Riccio, “Qualche parola sulle avvocatesse”, Giornale della donna, 15 avril 1934.

99 M. Malatesta, Professional Men, Professional Women: The European Professions from the 19th Century until Today, London, Sage, 2010, p. 33.

100 Tacchi, Eva Togata, p. 76.

101 V. Lorenz, “German Women Lawyers and Judges of Today”, Women Lawyers’ Journal, 21/1, 1934, p. 12 and 18. She may have traveled under the auspices of the National Committee to Aid Victims of German Fascism (an American, Communist Party-affiliated organization) according to Conversations with Trotsky: Earle Birney and the Radical 1930s, ed. B. Nesbitt, Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 2017, chapter 4.

102 K. H. Jarausch, “The Perils of Professionalism: Lawyers, Teachers, and Engineers in Nazi Germany [1986]”, Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung, supplement, 24, 2012, p. 157-183.

103 M. Röwekamp, Juristinnen: Lexikon zu Leben und Werk, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2005, p. 90.

104 J. Stephenson, Women in Nazi Society, London, Routledge, 2014, p. 164.

105 C. von Oertzen, Science, Gender, and Internationalism: Women’s Academic Networks, 1917-1955, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, p. 115.

106 Stephenson, Women in Nazi Society, p. 169-171.

107 R. Leck, “Conservative Empowerment and the Gender of Nazism”, Journal of Women’s History, 12/2, 2000, p. 150.

108 See J. Stephenson, “Girls’ Higher Education in Germany in the 1930s”, Journal of Contemporary History, 10/1, 1975, p. 41-69.

109 V. Poska-Grünthal, “Les femmes et l’évolution du droit de famille moderne”, La Française, 11 juillet 1936.

110 See C. Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1987.

111 E. Jaffe Mohr, “Women Lawyers in Central Europe”, Women Lawyers’ Journal, 23/4, 1937, p. 6-9.

112 Z. Szulcowa, “Bericht über die in Wien abgehaltene Kongresse”, Palestra. Fachzeitschrift der Warschauer Rechtsanwälte, 13/10, October 1936; G. Un, “Zur Neugestaltung der Unehelichenrechte”, Schweizer Frauenblatt, 20/3, 1938, p. 4.

113 Dr. I. Eben-Servaes, “Ehe und Volkgemeinschaft”, Zeitschrift: Schweizer Frauenblatt: Organ für Fraueninteressen und Frauenkultur, 20, 21 January 1938, p. 4.

114 Letter dated March  1, 1938. UN Archives, R473/11B/29874/26725.

115 “Une lettre d’Anna Pauker à Ella Negruzzi”, L’Humanité, 25 février 1936.

116 “Le procès d’Anna Pauker”, Le Petit Journal, 3 juillet 1936.

117 “En Roumanie”, L’Humanité, 31 janvier 1936; “Les avocats d’Anna Pauker menacés de mort”, L’Humanité, 1er février 1936. See R. Levy, Ana Pauker: The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Communist, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2001.

118 Sauvez Liselotte Hermann!: Femmes et mères empêchez ce crime, Paris, Editions Universelles, 1938, p. 25; “Il faut sauver Liselotte Hermann”, L’Humanité, 9 février 1938; N. Marceau, “Les marraines de l’enfant de Liselotte Herrmann”, La Correspondance internationale, 20 août 1938.

119 “Une jeune mère condamnée à mort à Stuttgart”, Bulletin de la LICA, 30 October 1937.

120 History of Women in the West, vol. 5, ed. F. Thébaud, Cambridge, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 19-50.

121 G. Le Béguec, Avocats et barreaux en France, 1910-1930, Nancy, Presses universitaires de Nancy, 1994, p. 146.

122 Poster, Le comité radical et Radical-Socialiste, pour Madame Kraemer-Bach. Elections municipales 1935, Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand (BMD), AFF 58 a GF.

123 M. Kraemer-Bach, La Longue Route, Paris, La pensée universelle, 1988.

124 Leck, “Conservative Empowerment and the Gender of Nazism”, p. 151.

125 L. Koplowitz, “Le juge de tutelle en Allemagne. Séance du 19 janvier 1934”, Travaux pratiques de droit privé comparé, p. 145-176; L. Koplowitz, “De la perte de la nationalité et les conditions des apatrides avec tableau synoptique”, Revue pratique de droit international, octobre-décembre 1936, p. 29-67.

126 “La Chronique Judicaire. In memoriam. Me Eliane de la Haye-Selig”, Journal des Tribunaux [Brussels], 28 November 1970, p. 691-692; Restitution file no 63853, 16 January 1952, Lilli de la Haye and the Nr., German compensation and restitution office, Berlin (Entschaedigungsamt).

127 C. Campoamor, “La Révolution espagnole vue de Madrid par une Républicaine”, Revue universelle, 1 and 15 avril 1937; La Révolution Espagnole vue par une républicaine, trans. C. Campoamor and A. Quinche, Paris, Plon, 1937.

128 J. Picard, La Suisse et les juifs, 1933-1945, Lausanne, Editions d’en bas, 2000, p. 215 and 218.

129 F. Regard, “Histoire orale d’un réfugié juif en Suisse (Henri Silberman) ou comment l’Histoire peut utiliser le témoignage”, Études et sources, 22, Beme, Archives fédérales/Haupt, 1996, p. 261.

130 “La commission pour l’aide extraordinaire aux Suisses à l’étranger et rapatriés victimes de la guerre de 1939 à 1945”, extrait des délibérations du Conseil fédéral, Feuille fédérale, 2/49, 1957, p. 1004-1005, in Archives Fédérales Suisse.

131 S. L. Kimble, “Internationalist Women against Nazi Atrocities in Occupied Europe, 1941 – 1947”, Journal of Women’s History, 35/1, spring 2023, p. 57-79.

132 “Les pérsecutions hitlériennes contre les associations féministes allemandes”, La Française, 1 juillet 1933; “La fin du féminisme en Allemagne”, La Française, 21 octobre 1933; “À travers le monde: Le travail des femmes, Allemagne”, La Française, 4-11 mars 1939.

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Sara L. Kimble, « Political Engagement by ‘apolitical’ Female European Lawyers: The International Federation of Women Judges and Lawyers, 1928 – 1956 »Clio@Themis [En ligne], 25 | 2023, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2023, consulté le 14 avril 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cliothemis/4358 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/cliothemis.4358

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Sara L. Kimble

Associate Professor, DePaul University

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