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Hist of Holocaust Dec 1

Hist of Holocaust Dec 1 - December 1 2011 Topic for today...

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December 1, 2011 Topic for today: The search for justice after 1945, and how this search shapes our understanding of what the Holocaust actually is - 6 million is a rough approximation of those killed in the Holocaust, but that number is probably much larger o The Germans destroyed communities all across the Soviet Union, they launched a war and then fought it bitterly until 1945 when they were forced until unconditional surrender; so there were lots of people that died because of the Nazi regime who wanted justice - The Allies wanted to start a process of holding trials and educating people to get them to change social values; this was the hope that many allied leaders had in 1945… you not only have to imprison the criminals but you have to change their mindsets in order to make a lasting peace o But nobody wanted another World War, so what to do? - There was an attempt after 1945 to de-Nazify Germany o Example: US soldiers forced German civilians to walk by dead bodies of slave laborers murdered by the SS - In 1945/1946, the Allies tried to set up review boards to see how seriously a Nazi you were; tried to determine this based on what position you had, when you joined the party (joining it early on probably means you were very committed to the party)… tried to evaluate how suitable you were for work in a post-Nazi society o If people were de-Nazified they would get papers saying, “You are clear, you can get a job.” o If you weren’t cleared, probably couldn’t go back to the job you had before the holocaust - Wanted to apply law to the crimes the German had committed o “Nulla poena sine lege”… you can’t punished for something that is not a law. You can’t just decide it is something you don’t like and punish someone for that, they have to be defying a written law
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o Nothing that the Germans did in 1932 was actually against German law.
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