Survivors, collaborators and partisans? Bringing Jewish ghetto policemen before Soviet justice in Lithuania

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Anglų kalba / English
Survivors, collaborators and partisans? Bringing Jewish ghetto policemen before Soviet justice in Lithuania
In the Journal:
Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas [JGO]. 2020, vol. 68, no. 2, p. 222-255
20 amžius; Antrasis pasaulinis karas, 1939-1945 (World War II); Atpildas; Getai / Ghetto; Holokaustas / Holocaust; Sovietinis laikotarpis; Teisingumas.
20th century; Justice; Retribution; Soviet Period.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThis article examines the cases of 15 Jewish policemen who worked in ghettos in Lithuania during WW2 and who were put on trial in Soviet Lithuania between 1944 and 1952. The aim is contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of whether or not Soviet police and court officials considered the specific nature of Jewish and ghetto life during the war. What factors were important in coming to a guilty verdict? Alternatively, what did the investigators consider to be mitigating circumstances or even evidence for a verdict of not guilty? As the investigation progressed and, particularly, during the trial and sentencing, were there any changes in the questioning which reflected an understanding of what these people had gone through? In this paper, we analyse how the actions of Jewish policemen were perceived in the immediate aftermath of the war, when the discovery of the extermination may have influenced those perceptions; and how these actions were subsequently viewed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the Soviet anti-cosmopolitan campaign led to the arrest of many Jews (mainly for Zionism), thus forcing investigators, judges, the accused and witnesses to confront their wartime experiences together. Looking at the arguments of the prosecution and the attempts to justify the actions of the police provides us with an insight into the real tensions pervading life in the ghetto. We also note that the links that existed between certain policemen and the ghetto’s underground were progressively taken into account as an element of the discharge. [From the publication]

0021-4019; 2366-2891
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2022-06-14 17:20:29
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