factual record of the accused person's deeds. But the proceedings, which resulted in a death sentence for Eichmann, the only one imposed in Israeli history—it was carried out by hanging on 31 May 1962—resulted in new respect for Holocaust survivors and their testimonies. Thus, a more recent assessment of the trial is much more positive than Arendt's, arguing that it functioned as group therapy for hundreds of thousands of survivors by enabling them to unload their memories on a nation that had suppressed the stories of helpless Jews as incompatible with the image of Israel as a healthy and strong state (Douglas 2001 ). Soviet ‐ occupied and East Germany The Soviets held hundred of tribunals in the early postwar years, but only that of guards at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was public, and it had many of the classic features of a Soviet show trial (Friedman in Heberer and Matthäus 2008 : 159–84). In the Soviet zone of occupied
Germany, torture and privation often preceded quite brief tribunal proceedings that generally concluded with verdicts of guilty, but death sentences were hardly universal. The exact number of legal proceedings instituted by Soviet courts under Control Council Law 10 is unknown. One of the leading early researchers on Nazi trials believed that the number of individuals convicted vastly exceeded the number of defendants sentenced by all the tribunals in the western occupation zones put together (Rückerl 1979 ). The West German justice ministry estimated in 1965 that Soviet tribunals sentenced over 10,000 people. Those who had not died in Soviet custody were handed over to the East German regime three months after the founding of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in October 1949. Little scholarly work on East German prosecutions for war crimes has appeared to date, and contemporary reactions took predictable form: East German press reports hailed all trial results, and West German press reports looked askance at East German actions. Clearly, the trials were highly politicized and ideological: East Germans were most likely to prosecute crimes against communists and socialists. Much of the focus was on defendants accused of having denounced political opponents of the Nazi state. Early in its existence the GDR held thousands of trials and tribunals, meting out 3,224 sentences in the last two ‐ and ‐ a ‐ half months of 1949 alone. In fact, the East German justice system prosecuted about the same number (p. 533) of suspected Nazis as the West Germans, but the figure bulked larger in the East because of its much smaller population and the fact that most defendants were tried in the East as principal actors, rather than as accessories, as in the West. The trials tapered off after the onset of the Cold War, and the average number dropped from about one hundred to seven per year (Friedman in Heberer and Matthäus 2008 : 159– 84) as the focus of East German justice became defectors and internal resisters.
- Spring '07
- The Land, Nuremberg Trials