Politieke misdadigers of eerloze criminelen? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 132, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article tries to explain why the notion of infamy was removed from the Dutch penal code of 1886, whereas this notion was still prominently defended in the German Reich Penal Code of 1871. The explanation is sought in the circulation of books containing reports of participants in the 1848/9 revolutions in the German states and their subsequent incarceration. It is argued that accounts of the suffering of these political prisoners made such a lasting impression on German legislators that they decided not to remove the rulings on infamy from the Reich Penal Code. The absence of such accounts in the Dutch national context, however, enabled Dutch legislators to continue along a path taken earlier towards abolishment. In the end, the analysis provides an alternative perspective on the relationship between the experience and mediation of suffering and the historical development of penal reform in western Europe.


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