Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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Foreword

G. Kurt Piehler

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pp. ix-x

One of the most far-reaching legacies of World War II would be the sustained effort to bring to justice those who committed war crimes. For the general public and even for many scholars, the focus has traditionally centered on the most famous of the war crime trials, the International Military Tribunal held...

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Preface

Michael S. Bryant

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pp. xi-xii

Every work of scholarship is to some extent autobiography. In all my work, including the book you are holding in your hands, my discomfiture with the problem of evil shadows every page. The question of how our world could produce an event like the Holocaust bestrides this book, as it does most of my writing on...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xiii

A great many people have been involved in the production of this book, both within the United States and abroad. I would like to thank my editors, Scot Danforth and Kurt Piehler, for supporting the book from proposal to published text; the University of Tennessee Press copyeditors, Gene Adair and Thomas...

Map

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p. xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

Sometime in the final months of 1941, when the heat of late summer mellowed and the leaves stirred in the freshening breaths of approaching autumn, Adolf Hitler relayed an order, most likely verbal, as he was averse to written orders in matters of such grave consequence, to SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler for

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1. A Subject for Jurisprudence: From the Ulm Einsatzgruppen Trial to the Creation of the Ludwigsburg Central Office, 1956–1960

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pp. 23-34

Bernd Fischer-Schweder was an angry man. He had lost his appeal for reinstatement in his job as director of a refugee camp in the Ulm district of Wilhelmsburg, from which he had been dismissed when newly arrived refugees in 1955 recognized him as the ex–SS officer and former police director in Memel...

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2. The Queen of the Dead: The Investigation and Trial of the Belzec Death Camp

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pp. 35-70

Buchenwald survivor David Rousset called the Nazi system of oppression and death a “concentrationary universe,” a counter-cosmic nightmare operating in accordance with its own perverse, inhuman laws.1 We might think of the Operation Reinhard death camps in view of Rousset’s astronomy metaphor: if...

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3. Who Killed the Jews? The Treblinka Investigation and Trial

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pp. 71-124

For former death camp guards, there were strategies useful in avoiding a murder conviction in West German courts. At the Belzec trial, the defendants argued with varying degrees of success that they had acted under duress or that their activities within the camp did not involve murdering the Jews. Others contended that they had exploited every available option to secure reassignment...

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4. Murdering Star: The Sobibor Investigation and Trial

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pp. 125-190

On the same day as the Central Office in Ludwigsburg began its investigation into the Sobibor death camp, July 24, 1959, it requested from the senior prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt the records from the trial of Hubert Gomerski. Gomerski was one of three Sobibor staff members tried in 1950 in West Germany...

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5. Handy-Dandy Justice: Nazi Crimes and the Self-Absolution of the West German Judiciary

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pp. 191-222

The profession called upon to judge former death camp staff from Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka was no less implicated in Nazi atrocities than the defendants over whom they sat in judgment. At more than 90-percent membership in the NSDAP,1 the German judiciary had been the most Nazified professional group

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Conclusion

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pp. 223-228

The reader will have noticed a certain tension in the argument of this book. On the one hand, it defends the basic integrity of the Operation Reinhard investigations and trials, finding that both the Central Office’s investigations and the subsequent adjudication of former death camp personnel from Belzec, Sobibor...

Appendices

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pp. 229-244

Chronology

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pp. 245-248

Notes

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pp. 249-290

Glossary

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pp. 291-292

Bibliography

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pp. 293-302

Index

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pp. 303-313

Production Notes

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p. 314