All About History

THE QUEST FOR JUSTICE

Reckonings: Legacies Of Nazi Persecution And The Quest For Justice looks to broaden the way in which the Holocaust is often remembered, expanding it not just from Auschwitz to the wider mechanisms of persecution in Nazi Germany, but also the longer tail of prosecution (or lack thereof) of perpetrators in the years following WWII.

It was the Wolfson History Prize 2019 winner, with the judges stating: “Quoting many moving accounts from victims of the extreme cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis, Fulbrook moves through the generations to trace the legacy of Nazi persecution in postwar Germany. A masterly work which explores the shifting boundaries and structures of memory.” We spoke with Mary Fulbrook about her important work and how the passing of time is affecting how we approach the Holocaust and the prosecution of those who aided and abetted it.

In the early years of prosecutions of the Holocaust, was a lack of witnesses ever a roadblock to justice?

It changed over time. One of the things I did in the book was to look at trials over the decades, and the need for witnesses has changed dramatically in the last few years since the Demjanjuk trial [John Demjanjuk was convicted, pending appeal, in 2011 as an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews while working at Sobibór extermination camp in Poland]. Witnesses for most of West Germany’s history, the Federal Republic, were used to try to show that a particular person had

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