The Frankfurt Auschwitz trial was the largest, most public, and most important trial of Holocaust perpetrators conducted in West German courts. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources, Devin O. Pendas provides a comprehensive history of this momentous event. Situating the trial in a thorough analysis of West German criminal law, this 2006 book argues that in confronting systematic, state-sponsored genocide, the Frankfurt court ran up against the limits of law. Because many of the key categories of German criminal law were defined with direct reference to the specific motives of the defendants, the trial was unable to adequately grasp the deep social roots and systematic character of Nazi genocide. Much of the trial's significance came from the vast public attention it captured, and this book provides a compelling account of the divided response to the trial among the West German public.
• Comprehensive history of the Auschwitz trial in its historical context • Extensive chapter on German criminal law • Extended treatment of public reaction to the trial
1. Prelude; 2. The antinomies of German law: motivation, action and guilt; 3. The trial actors; 4. Indictment and order to convene, April–July 1963; 5. Opening moves, 20 December 1963–6 February 1964; 6. Taking evidence, 7 February 1964–May 1965; 7. Closing arguments, 7 May 1965–12 August 1965; 8. Judgment; 9. Public reaction.