In 1941 Sturmbannführer (Major) Thorbeck was appointed the chief judge of the SS and police court in Munich for which SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Walter Huppenkothen was the prosecutor. On 8 April 1945 under orders from Ernst Kaltenbrunner he presided over a drumhead court-martial without witnesses, records of proceedings or a defence in Flossenbürg concentration camp, that condemned Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, General Hans Oster, Army chief judge Dr. Karl Sack, Captain Ludwig Gehre and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris to death. They were all hanged on 9 April, two weeks before the United States Army liberated the camp.
After the war Thorbeck worked as an attorney in Nuremberg. In 1955 he was convicted by a court of assizes in Augsburg for assisting in murder and sentenced to four years imprisonment. On 19 June 1956 the Federal Court of Justice of Germany exonerated him on grounds that the killings were 'legal' because the Nazi regime had the right to execute "traitors". The decision was rescinded by the Berlin State Court in 1996.
- Peter Hoffman (1996). The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945. McGill-Queen’s Press. ISBN 0-7735-1531-3.
- "Memories of a Chaplain to the US 97th Infantry Division". 29 May 2011.
- Gerd Ueberschär: For another Germany . fiTb 13934, Frankfurt/M 2006, ISBN 3-596-13934-1, P. 308 Anm.21
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