Abstract

Katarzyna Person (Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw)

Justice and revenge in Jewish DP camps in occupied Germany.

In my paper I will speak of  research based on documents produced during trials that took place in Jewish DP camps in Germany in the immediate post-war period. While these can legitimately be classified as juridical sources, they differ significantly from the testimonies we encounter in later proceedings. First, they have a much less formal character. This is due to the specifics of the camp court system, which lacked a formalized procedure and which operated on an improvised legal basis.Secondly, they have particular qualities that are due to the role played by these courts in the post-war Jewish community. Many of those filing testimonies were seizing their very first chance to seek justice for crimes committed during the Holocaust. As is clear from their testimonies, they sought justice not only for themselves but for fellow Jews who had perished, especially those close to them. In the case I will discuss in detail, involving a female kapo who had been in charge of a children’s block at the barracks in Auschwitz, this search for justice to those who no longer had a voice took on a special meaning.