Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes by Patricia HebererAtrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes by Patricia Heberer

Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes

EditorPatricia Heberer, Jurgen Matthaus

Paperback | April 1, 2008

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Since the Nuremberg trials following World War II, there has been considerable debate about the nature and effects of war crimes with regard both to the Nazis and to modern-day perpetrators. What constitutes a “war crime,” and how has the concept changed over time? How do victors and vanquished deal with crimes that have universal as well as national dimensions? How is the historical reality of war crimes related to their judicial treatment? How are perpetrators portrayed during investigations and trials?
These timely and provocative essays make use of newly available archival sources and a wide range of case studies to provide in-depth analyses of war crimes within a broad historical framework. The essays are organized into four sections: the history of war-crime trials from Weimar Germany to just after World War II; the sometimes diverging Allied efforts to come to terms with the Nazi concentration camp system; the ability of postwar society to confront war crimes of the past; and the legacy of war-crime trials in the twenty-first century. Atrocities on Trial illuminates a dark and timely subject and helps us to understand the ongoing struggle to hold accountable those who perpetrate crimes against humanity.
Patricia Heberer is a historian with the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is the museum’s in-house specialist on medical crimes and eugenics policies in Nazi Germany.  Jürgen Matthäus is the director for applied research at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United ...
Title:Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War CrimesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.04 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:April 1, 2008Publisher:UNP - Nebraska PaperbackLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0803210841

ISBN - 13:9780803210844

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael R. Marrus 

Introduction: War Crimes Trials and the Historian


Part I.  Precedents in Punishment

The Lessons of Leipzig:  Punishing German War Criminals after the First World War (Jürgen Matthäus)

Early Post-War Justice in the American Zone: The “Hadamar Murder Factory” Trial (Patricia Heberer)

US Army War Crimes Trials in Germany, 1945-1947 (Lisa Yavnai)


Part II.  Allied Courts and German Crimes in the Context of Nuremberg

Law and Politics in the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, 1946-1949 (Jonathan Friedman)

The Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial and the Limitations of Context (Michael R. Marrus)

“The Scars of Ravensbrück”: Medical Experiments and British War Crimes Policy, 1945-1950 (Ulf Schmidt)

The Sachsenhausen Trials:  War Crimes Prosecution in the Soviet Occupation Zone and in West and East Germany (Jonathan Friedman)


Part III.  Postwar Society and the Nazi Past

“No Ordinary Criminal”:  Georg Heuser, Other Mass Murderers, and West German Justice (Jürgen Matthäus)

Tainted Law:  The West German Judiciary and the Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals (Rebecca Wittmann)

Justice in Austrian Courts?  The Case of Josef W. and Austria’s Difficult Relationship with Its Past (Patricia Heberer)


Part IV.  Current Aspects and Implications

Crimes against Humanity Trials in France and their Historical and Legal Contexts:  A Retrospective Look (Richard J. Golsan)

Milestones and Mythologies:  The Impact of Nuremberg (Donald Bloxham)

Prosecution, Condemnation, and Punishment:  Ethical Implications of Atrocities on Trial (John K. Roth)





Editorial Reviews

"[Atrocities on Trial] is an informative, nuanced, and balanced anthology that succeeds in its ambition to clarify the history of Nazi war crimes prosecution and the omnipresent influence of political forces on the trials."—Michael S. Bryant, Holocaust and Genocide Studies
- Michael S. Bryant - Holocaust and Genocide Studies