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Dick de Mildt

In the Name of the People explores the profile of the perpetrators of Nazi genocide as reflected in postwar German trial sentences. It investigates their social background, their `route to crime', and their role in the Nazi extermination apparatus. In addition, it studies the postwar prosecution of these genocidal criminals in West Germany. It describes and analyses the obstacles, `bottlenecks', and omissions in the prosecuting policies and presents their statistical record. It examines the way in which postwar German courts dealt with these criminals by an in-depth study of the trial sentences against two specific groups of genocidal perpetrators: the `Euthanasia' and ` Aktion Reinhard' killers. Through a scrutiny of the argumentation of the various courts' sentences in these cases, it presents a detailed picture of the grounds for acquittal, conviction and punishment. It discusses the controversial differentiation of `murder' and `complicity in murder' with regard to these genocidal perpetrators and highlights the ways in which the courts handled complicated questions, such as acting under superior orders, duress, and coercion. The study is intended for a readership consisting of historians, sociologists, criminologists, legal experts and others interested in the `fieldworkers' and modus operandi of the Nazi genocide and Germany's postwar judicial reaction to it.