(The conference will be held in English)
Keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Jan T. Gross, Princeton University:
Reflections about Jewish life in Eastern Europe after the Second World War
The conference examines the implementation of Nazi trials in Eastern Europe in the thawing period of the Cold War in the 1960s. The 1960s were marked by the start of a »second wave« of Nazi criminal trials in the Eastern Bloc. After a series of highly publicized legal proceedings in all the formerly occupied countries in the immediate postwar years, many trials of Nazi perpetrators were held in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany in this later period.
Participants will explore a group of crucial, interrelated questions: the nature of the joint strategies these states developed in face of the crimes, the inter-state dynamic and forms of competition involved, the issues the states chose to confront, the narratives they established, and the verdicts that were finally delivered. The conference will look closely at the approaches taken to the Holocaust in these proceedings. How were the trials in the 1960s ideologically processed? Were they prompted solely by competition with the West German judicial system? Who were the central actors behind and within these trials? Did the situation change in this respect in the course of the 1960s? Did confronting and processing the Nazi past even become an overarching task within the bloc, at least in a limited sense? And beyond such questions: to what extent, if any, did continuing antisemitism within the party apparatus and broader society of any given East Bloc country influence its approach to the Holocaust and Nazi crimes against humanity?
The conference will both trace out a history of interconnection between the various East Bloc states and focus on activities by individuals and institutions. Moving past established ideological lines, we hope to identify undercurrents laid out less starkly, and in general to form a differentiated historical picture: of the significance accorded investigation and prosecution of Nazi crimes within East Bloc societies and of the knowledge that emerged about the Holocaust, both within and beyond the boundaries of »anti-fascism« doctrine.
A Cooperation of the Fritz Bauer Institute
with the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena.
(See June 18 to 19: The Holocaust and the Cold War)
Fritz Bauer Institut
An-Institut der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798 322-40