Geschichte Osteuropas und Südosteuropas




Lehrveranstaltungen im Sommersemester 2011

Vorlesung: War Crimes Trials in Central and Eastern Europe: Testimony and History

2std., Mi 14-16,  LMU-Hauptgebäude A 014

This course offers a comparative history of Allied and European attempts to investigate and prosecute Nazi war crimes. Beginning with the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and extending to present day trials of the "last Nazis" in German courts, lectures will explore how the history of trials has defined public perceptions and scholarly interpretations of the Holocaust. In particular, the course will examine how categories such as victim, perpetrator, and bystander have been applied in the courtroom and recently in the textbook treatments of the Holocaust. Case studies of highly publicized trials such as the 1960s Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in West Germany will be compared with smaller trials such as the Petri Trial in East Germany. Besides the important differences in legal practices followed by each country, the political and cultural influences on the history of the trials will be elucidated in order to show how individuals (prosecutors, defendants, witnesses, attorneys, judges and journalists) shaped events and outcomes of the cases. Most scholars have been critical of Nazi war crimes trials, especially the post-Nuremberg ones, arguing that low conviction rates or faulty investigations were a travesty of justice vis a vis the mass crimes of the Holocaust. How does one compare and evaluate the thousands of trials that occurred across postwar western and eastern Europe? Do low conviction rates such as those in West Germany reflect half-hearted attempts to deal with the past, or worse, a "brown" legal system that sought to protect prior Nazis? How does this situation compare with the large number of Ukrainians, ethnic Germans, Russians and Belorussians who were convicted en masse in the Soviet Union as "traitors to the homeland" (i.e. as Nazi collaborators)?In assessing the record of postwar adjudication of Nazi war crimes in Austria, the two Germanys and the former Soviet Union, this course will analyze the investigative procedures, the defendants, the publicity, and educational value within the respective national-political contexts. One of the focal points of the course will be the individual perpetrators who resided in these different countries/regions and their attempts to navigate various postwar justice systems. Prüfungsform im BA und im modularisierten Lehramt: MP.

Literatur: Norbert Frei, ed. Transnationale Vergangenheitspolitik. Der Umgang mit deutschen Kriegsverbrechern in Europa nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, Göttingen, 2006; Donald Bloxham, Genocide on Trial: War Crimes Trials and the Formation of Holocaust History and Memory, London, 2003.; Penter, Tanja."Collaboration on Trial: New Source Material on Soviet Postwar Trials Against Collaborators," Slavic Review (Winter 2005): 782-790.;Prusin, Alexander. „Fascist Criminals to the Gallows!': The Holocaust and Soviet War Crimes Trials, December 1945-February 1946," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 17 (Spring 2003) 1-30.