The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust

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The trial lasted from April 11, to August 14, The judges "convicted Eichmann on all fifteen counts of the indictment, although he was acquitted on some particulars" Arendt Many of the indictments were based on precedents from the Nuremberg Trials. The conviction carried the death sentence as punishment. After an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, Israel carried out the death sentence by hanging on May 31, Arendt Analysis back to top.

Hannah Arendt states in her postscript to Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil that "the present report deals with nothing but the extent to which the court in Jerusalem succeeded in fulfilling the demands of justice" Arendt This postscript, published in a revised and enlarged edition of the book in , was necessary because of the widespread controversy over the book upon its release. Eichmann was the Nazi war criminal responsible for organizing the forced deportation of millions of Jews to the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The memory of judgment : making law and history in the trials of the Holocaust

The Israeli government captured him in Argentina in to stand trial in Jerusalem for his participation in carrying out the Nazi Final Solution of the Jewish Question. Specifically, it raised the issue of the trial setting being used to reveal to the world the details of genocide, rather than solely for a judicial process.

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Arendt contends that certain "interest groups" created an image of her book as if it contained an argument that "Jews had murdered themselves" Arendt Arendt justifies her focus "on this chapter of the story, which the Jerusalem trial failed to put before the eyes of the world" on the grounds that it offered "the most striking insight into the totality of the moral collapse the Nazis caused" Arendt Thus, Arendt raised questions and sparked a discussion on this aspect of the Holocaust.

Arendt defends her discussion of the Jewish community leaders in the book by noting that it was brought up at the trial, thus making it inevitable that some reporter of the trial would bring it up Arendt The controversy relates to the issue of the Eichmann trial being used as a setting to tell the story of the Holocaust. The prosecution brought witnesses "to testify to the rising in the Warsaw ghetto and to the similar attempts in Vilna and Kovno--matters that had no connection whatever with the crimes of the accused" Arendt During the trial, only one prominent member of the Judenrat, Jewish Councils, was brought to the stand as a witness.

However, the debate continues.

Establishing the Nuremberg Tribunal

However, according to reviewer Berel Lang, Hilberg in his autobiography "criticizes the equation of his own views with Arendt's charge of collaboration on the part of the Judenrate Jewish Councils in the ghettoes. The problem, according to Hilberg, goes deeper than this" Lang 1. In his interviews with the Israeli police and throughout the trial, he repeatedly asserted that he was not anti-semitic.


Arendt writes that "he went to considerable lengths to prove his point: he never harbored any ill feelings against his victims" Arendt Eichmann had Jews in his family and expressed a dedication to Zionism. Arendt describes him as a joiner who needed to be a member of something. She describes his "common vice" of bragging, even about his responsibility for the "death of five million Jews" Arendt She wrote that "his inability to speak was closely connected to an inability to think , mainly to think from the standpoint of somebody else" Arendt For her, the banality of evil and the lack of real motives, besides wanting to personally advance his career, stemmed from "the strange interdependence of thoughtlessness and evil" Arendt Arendt, in her postcript to the book, said she understood that the title of her book would draw controversy.

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The "lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil" that Arendt gained from the Eichmann trial and the "normal" man who committed such heinous acts without evil intent or thought to the immorality and evil of his actions is still controversial Arendt Mark Greif, in his article, writes that "The disgraceful piling on hasn't really stopped for forty years. A prisoner in a compression chamber loses consciousness and later dies during an experiment to determine altitudes at which aircraft crews could survive without oxygen.

Dachau, Germany, Victim of a medical experiment immersed in freezing water at the Dachau concentration camp.

Dachau, Germany, between August and May A Romani Gypsy victim of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater potable. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, Photo of wounds left by a medical experiment. The victim had been burned with phosphorous so that medicaments could be tested. Vladislava Karolewska, a victim of medical experiments, who appeared as a prosecution witness at the Doctors Trial.

Memory of Judgment | Yale University Press

Herta Oberheuser, physician on trial for having conducted medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Nuremberg, Germany, August American judges top row, seated during the Doctors Trial. Presiding Judge Walter B.

Professor Lawrence Dougals - Building the Case Against Perpetrators of Genocide

Beals is seated second from the left. The trial was held in Nuremberg, Germany, from December 9, , to August 20, On December 9, , an American military tribunal opened criminal proceedings against 23 leading German physicians and administrators for their willing participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust

In Nazi Germany, German physicians planned and enacted the Euthanasia Program , the systematic killing of those they deemed "unworthy of life. With insight Douglas explores how prosecutors and jurors struggled to submit unprecedented crimes to legal judgment, and in so doing, to reconcile the interests of justice and pedagogy. Against the attacks of such critics as Hannah Arendt, Douglas defends the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials as imaginative, if flawed, responses to extreme crimes.

By contrast, he shows how the Demjanjuk and Zundel trials turned into disasters of didactic legality, obfuscating the very history they were intended to illuminate.