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Rhetorical Vectors of Memory in National and International Holocaust Trials

Marouf A. Hasian Jr.

Publication Year: 2006

During the past several decades, the twentieth century Holocaust has become a defining event in many histories. This newfound respect for the Judeocide has been cathartic for both individuals and communities, in that it provides evidence that audiences around the world are rethinking the significance of the World War II narratives of bystanders, perpetrators, and victims. Given the complexities of these issues, scholars who are interested in studying Holocaust memory make choices about the questions on which they focus, the artifacts they select for analysis, and the perspectives they want to present.
     Hasian reviews how national and international courts have used Holocaust trials as forums for debates about individuated justice, historical record keeping, and pedagogical memory work. He concludes that the trials involving Auschwitz, Demjanjuk, Eichmann, Finta, Nuremberg, Irving, Kastner, Keegstra, Sawoniuk, and Zündel are highly problematic. The author provides a rhetorical analysis of holocaust trials as a way of looking into the question of what role court proceedings play in the creation of Holocaust collective memories.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

Iwould like to thank the many people who helped me think through the controversial ideas that appear in this book. For years, George Cheney, Lisa Flores, Len Hawes, Rick Rieke, and Helena Zdravkovic have supported me as I talked about many of my major contentions, and Marty Medhurst provided unflagging support as I dealt with dissenting . . .

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Chapter One: The Role of Legal Trials in the Preservation of Select Holocaust Histories and Memories

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pp. 1-21

By now it has become a truism in many public and academic communities that societies need to maintain a healthy balance between remembering and forgetting, but given the symbolic rewards and costs that are attached to our recollections of select artifacts, people, events, dates, and . . .

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Chapter Two: The Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals and Early Legal Remembrances of the Holocaust

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pp. 23-47

As I noted in chapter 1, it is crucial that scholars begin their analyses of Holocaust trials by looking at a wide range of representations of the Judeocide, so it is fitting that I start my own narration of these events by taking us back to some of the contested World War II legal and public . . .

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Chapter Three: The Difficulties of “Mastering the Past”: Contemporary and Modern Vectors of Memories and the Auschwitz Trial

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pp. 49-76

“Since the 1960s,” argued Nancy Wood, the confusion between “the politics of Aufarbeitung (‘coming to terms with the past’)” and Vergangenheitsbewältigung (‘mastering’ or ‘overcoming’ the past) have been a constant feature in the German political and cultural . . .

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Chapter Four: Israeli Judicial Proceedings and Changing Remembrances of the Holocaust

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pp. 77-107

In this chapter, I study the circulation of Holocaust remembrances in Israeli judicial proceedings. By reviewing some of the rhetorical dimensions of the Kastner, Eichmann, and Demjanjuk cases, I hope to provide a rhetorical analysis that explicates some of the legal complications that . . .

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Chapter Five: Canada’s Experiences with Holocaust Trials

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pp. 109-131

The Canadian Jewish Congress once reported that about 10 percent of the more than 300,000 Jews living in Canada were Holocaust survivors, and many critics were convinced that some 3,000 Nazi war criminals1 fled to Canada after the end of World War II.2 Many of the diffuse . . .

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Chapter Six: Understanding England’s Holocaust Memories

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pp. 133-154

“During the 1930s and World War II,” argues Tony Kushner, “the British government and its apparatus” often “downplayed the fate of the Jews under Nazi control.”1 British nationalists like to remember that they provided a haven for political refugees during this conflict, but these . . .

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Chapter Seven: The Future of Legal Involvement in Holocaust Memories

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pp. 155-167

As David Cesarani has recently observed, during the last quarter of the last century, war “crimes investigations into Nazi collaborators” were “commenced on a large scale in the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain,” and the “opening of archive collections” shed new “light on Nazi . . .


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pp. 169-221

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 223-232


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pp. 233-236

E-ISBN-13: 9781609170455
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870137846

Publication Year: 2006