This book is driven alternately by documents and the people whom Sands meets through them. He uses a variety of forensic and historical-critical methods to interpret cryptic data, everything from DNA tests to handwriting analysis. He ponders the stream-of-consciousness scribblings and doodles left by Lemkin on a scratch pad.
He scrutinises photographs, noting when the subjects seem most relaxed or stiff — who is present, who is absent? He combs the archives for pictures from inside the Nuremberg courtroom, looking for clues about who was present during certain testimony. When you research into the past this broadly — investigating enormous events like mass murder and world war — and also look deeply into the personal experiences of dozens of people you discover the strange dialectic between coincidence and system.
This dialectic is one of the recurring fascinations of this book. In at Nuremberg, Donnedieu sat in judgment of Frank.
The Nazis and the Occult by Paul Roland - Book - Read Online
Another example: the Armenian genocide brought together two men who a quarter of a century later became important protagonists at Nuremberg. Neither man knew the other. This book illustrates again and again the simultaneity of the systemic and the personal. It demonstrates how grand politics affects individuals, for everyone is in many ways at the mercy of states. The state gaveth, and the state tooketh away.
For a brief moment between March , when Nazi Germany annexed Austria, and the start of the war, statelessness was a useful status. It caused Germany to expel him, and thus saved his life.
Nuremberg Trials Nazis Crimes by Paul Roland, First Edition
Not that France wanted him. In Paris, every month for a solid year Buchholz fought the legal machinery that denied him permanent residency, until the bureaucrats finally relented. Repeatedly thereafter as Germany advanced through Europe, Buchholz saved himself, was saved by others and by chance. It focused on the official intention to eliminate whole groups. Lemkin was a public prosecutor in Poland when the rise of fascism cut short his career, making him a victim of the very crime he was trying to define. As he fled from country to country, he collected and carried with him the bureaucratic detritus of Nazi imperialism: the decrees and ordinances that it put into effect in the lands it occupied or annexed.
Where others carried clothing, Lemkin carried documents. Complete extermination is an incredible idea even today. It was more incredible in , before Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June and unfurled the whole machinery of death.
The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity
Lemkin was entirely right. In the course of his own exile from Lemberg, Lauterpacht acquired three separate doctorates and ultimately held the chair of international law at Cambridge. Unlike Lemkin, who was never able to re-establish his career, Lauterpacht was well integrated into political and academic circles. That step widened the scope of international law by bringing individual people, not just states, under its purview. From now on, states would be prohibited from committing such crimes even within their borders. International law now protected individuals even from the actions of their own governments.
Thanks to Lauterpacht, crimes against humanity became a focus of the Nuremberg trials. But in our times, genocide has surpassed crimes against humanity in political importance, primarily because of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December Scholarship, law and policy focus on this crime, with all its practical problems. What evidence counts as proof of intention?
When does cultural repression or assimilationist policy cross the line and become cultural genocide?
Is genocide a crime that can only be perpetrated against ethnic or religious groups, but not against political ones? The work of two law professors whose families died in the Holocaust and who defined the concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity is fascinatingly explored. Guilty as charged: defendants in the two central rows at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in , including Hans Frank front, fifth from right. In the densely populated field of literature on the second World War, it is rare to come across a book that adds genuinely new insights into the war or its legacies.
East West Street is partly a history of the legal concepts that were devised to deal with the historically unprecedented horrors of the Holocaust, and partly a group biography of the key actors in that process. Sands, a practising barrister, is well known internationally as a legal scholar of genocide and crimes against humanity. As a barrister, he has been involved in the creation of the International Criminal Court, as well as high-profile cases relating to accusations of genocide in Chile, Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
In East West Street , Sands focuses on one of the most important debates to emerge in response to the Holocaust: whether the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg trials were guilty of genocide or crimes against humanity. The central protagonists are two eminent scholars in the field of humanitarian law: Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht. Both of them were Jewish legal scholars whose high-profile international careers centred on how to respond to the crimes of Nazi Germany and how to prevent similar crimes in the future. Their different conceptions of humanitarian law revolutionised the field.
He argued that calling Nazi atrocities exactly that would help to protect fundamental human rights in the future, rather than simply give a name to past atrocities. There are, after all, plenty of histories of humanitarian law and the legal prosecution of Nazi crimes.
Buchholz fled the city for Vienna during the first World War when Galicia became a battleground on the Eastern Front , before moving further west when the Nazis absorbed Austria into the Greater German Reich. Sands began work on East West Street when he was invited to give a lecture on the concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity at Lviv University.
It was perhaps no coincidence that the two most eminent humanitarian law scholars of the 20th century came from humble Jewish backgrounds and attended university in Lviv. The city was a microcosm of 20th-century Europe, both in terms of its rich texture before the s and in its ultraviolent unravelling during the second World War. The war brought an end to the pluralistic, multireligious world of Galician Lviv.
In this capacity, Frank oversaw the systematic murder of well over three million Polish Jews, including those Galician Jews first forced into the Lviv ghetto before being deported to various killing sites. The strangely interconnected lives of Lemkin, Lauterpacht and Frank would eventually culminate in a personal encounter in October during the Nuremberg trials. Frank and other defendants were eventually found guilty of legal charges that had been masterminded by Lemkin and Lauterpacht: crimes against humanity and genocide.
Lauterpacht was present in the courtroom during the trial; Lemkin listened to the proceedings on a wireless from a hospital bed in Paris.
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East West Street by Philippe Sands review: shapers of the Nuremberg trials The work of two law professors whose families died in the Holocaust and who defined the concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity is fascinatingly explored Guilty as charged: defendants in the two central rows at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in , including Hans Frank front, fifth from right. Robert Gerwarth.