In the Name of the People: Perpetrators of Genocide in the Reflection of their Post-War Prosecution in West Germany

The `Euthanasia' and Aktion Reinhard Trial Cases

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.

Table of contents

Introduction. The Logic of Evil. 1: The Prosecution of Nazi Criminals in West Germany. 1.1. Accounting for Genocide: The Record of Post-War Prosecution in the Federal Republic of Germany. 1.2. Accounting of Genocide: Trial Sentences as Historical Source. 2: `Euthanasia'. Part A. The Extermination of `Life-Unworthy Life'. 2.1. The `Euthanasia' Aktion: Chronology, Organization and Practice. Part B. `Euthanasia' Accomplices on Trial. 2.2. Introduction. 2.3. Managers of Mass Death. 2.4. Heroes and Villains: The `Mercy Killing' Doctors. 2.5. The Lower Echelons. 3: The Aktion Reinhard. Part A. Down the Genocidal Road: The Institutional Links and the Organization. 3.1. From `Euthanasia' to the `Final Solution': The Application of Acquired Expertise. 3.2. Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka: `T4' and the Aktion Reinhard. 3.3. The Blanks at Nuremberg. 3.4. Stumbling into the Judicial Limelight: Hirtreiter and Friends. 3.5. A Late Redress of Missed Opportunities: The Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor Trials. 3.6. The Trial Against Franz Stangl. 4: Final Observations and Conclusions. 4.1. The Company of Hangmen. 4.2. Perspectives from the Court Room: The Flexibility of In Dubio Pro Reo. Bibliography. Index on Persons. Index on Places. Index on Subjects.