The ‘Minor’ War Crimes Trials: A Socio-Legal Investigation of Victims’ Justice (Hardback) book cover

The ‘Minor’ War Crimes Trials

A Socio-Legal Investigation of Victims’ Justice

By Lorie Charlesworth

© 2015 – Routledge

224 pages

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Hardback: 9780415598262
pub: 2017-12-01

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About the Book

This book reconstructs the legal and military history of the ‘minor’ war crimes trials held in Occupied Germany and elsewhere from 1945-8. Although the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg, from the end of 1945, is extremely well known, there were in fact hundreds of trials of ‘minor’ so-called war criminals in Occupied Germany, liberated Europe and the Far East. But little is known about these trials: even their number remains uncertain, and they are still shrouded in mystery. This book remedies that lack: addressing why those trials began; their legal framework; the trial processes; where they failed; who investigated them; the role of the military; and why they stopped. Challenging orthodox accounts that there was no Holocaust-awareness in Allied prosecutions, the book reveals the extent to which these ‘minor’ trials involved a substantial contribution by Holocaust victims. Jewish and other witnesses confronted their abusers; and were an integral part of successful prosecutions. Detailing the extent and value of their contribution, this study of the minor war crimes trials thus serves as a counterweight to the now orthodox and widespread perception of Holocaust survivors as helpless, feeble and emaciated Jews.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Law's history and victim's justice; a neglected conjunction; Chapter 2: Setting contexts: the historical, political and administrative framework for British ‘minor’ war crimes trials; Chapter 3: Living justice: British soldiers investigating war crimes; Chapter 4; Justice observed: legal and other readings of the Belsen(-Auschwitz) Trial 1946; Chapter 5: Living a different story: 2 SAS investigating war crimes in Occupied German; Chapter 6: Distorting justice?: intelligence agencies’ involvement in the Natzweitler Trial, 1946; Chapter 7: Experiencing law: war crimes investigations as human narrative; Chapter 8: Doctrinal law versus victims’ justice: narratives of legal insecurity and Nazi law; Chapter 9: Socio-legal perspectives: theory’s ahistorical fascination with Nazi ‘jurisprudence’ and ‘legal’ responses to German/Axis war crimes.

About the Author

Lorie Charlesworth is based at Liverpool John Moores University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Military / World War II
HISTORY / Holocaust
LAW / General
LAW / Criminal Procedure
LAW / International
LAW / Legal History