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The Mauthausen war crimes trial and American military justice in Germany.

Author: Tomaz Jardim
Publisher: 2009.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Toronto 2009
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This dissertation examines the American military trial of sixty-one personnel from the notorious Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen in 1946. As one of nearly 500 war crimes cases brought before U.S. military courts at Dachau between 1945 and the end of 1947, the Mauthausen trial was part of a justice system designed to judge and punish Nazi crimes in the most expedient manner the law would allow. Drawing on trial  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Tomaz Jardim
ISBN: 9780494812280 0494812281
OCLC Number: 791642998
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 73-03, Section: A, page.
Description: 269 leaves
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Abstract:

This dissertation examines the American military trial of sixty-one personnel from the notorious Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen in 1946. As one of nearly 500 war crimes cases brought before U.S. military courts at Dachau between 1945 and the end of 1947, the Mauthausen trial was part of a justice system designed to judge and punish Nazi crimes in the most expedient manner the law would allow. Drawing on trial and pre-trial records as well as interviews with surviving witnesses and trial participants, I reconstruct the arc of the prosecution process - from the investigation of crimes at Mauthausen in the days following its liberation, through to the trial and its aftermath. The investigation phase, I illustrate, was hampered by chronic understaffing and a lack of trained personnel. As a result, American war crimes investigators at Mauthausen came to depend on camp survivors to assist in virtually every step of the investigation, from the gathering of evidence to the arrest and interrogation of suspects. I argue that it was this remarkable relationship between liberator and liberated that gave fundamental shape to the Mauthausen investigation, and that influenced the vision of Nazi crimes presented by prosecutors in the courtroom. The ensuing trial, which lasted thirty-six days and resulted in the conviction of all sixty-one defendants, was efficient if also problematic. I argue that relaxed rules of evidence, questionable interrogation techniques, and the absence of an appeal procedure tipped the proceedings in favor of the prosecution and rendered the trial fundamentally flawed. Paradoxically however, I show that under the circumstances, this questionable legal framework allowed for the speedy punishment of dozens of indisputably guilty men who in all likelihood would otherwise have gone free.

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