tv Book Discussion on The Nazi Hunters CSPAN July 26, 2016 2:54am-4:03am EDT
the other big story of the war was completely ignored by the correspondence and indeed it has been treated in the most perfunctory way, if if at all by historians. here's the point. here all this correspondence in madrid, ready for their newspaper all over the world and one of the things they wrote about was the experience of being in these first major european capital that came under heavy, sustained bombardment. day after day they looked up and they saw those v-shaped formations of those bombers in the sky above madrid. they never asked whose fuel is powering those bombers. because of course modern armies run on gasoline and diesel fuel they never asked.
it should have been an obvious question because nationalist spain has no oil, hitler and mussolini which were supporting it or importers, not exporters. it would have been very difficult and expensive for them to supply the oil. what was the major source of oil in the world at this point? the united states, especially texas. as it turned out general franco was getting most of his oil from texaco which had a ceo at that point to buy a name who was basically a fascist sympathizer. he not only supplied franco with most of his oil throughout the war, but he violated u.s. law in several ways by sending it to him. american law said that anything
traveling to a country at war could not travel on american ships. nationalists had no oil tank so he loaded the oil onto texaco tankers at the texaco pipelines and off it went to spain and the sea where the ships were found for amsterdam and the captains would open c sealed orders redirecting them to spain. that was the first violation of u.s. law. the second violation was u.s. law said that you could not supply goods to country at war on credit, nationalists had no spare cash, they said that's no problem you can pay us when it's over. and he did something did two
other things as well. he gave franco the oil at a huge discount, something he never told texaco shareholders doors for as we can tell by setting minutes of the board of directors meeting that he even if formed his board of directors of this. and only in recent years has it come out through the work of a spanish scholar who very generously shared some of his documents with me that reber provided an additional kind of help to franco as well. here's what it was. texaco with major national oil company had imports all over the world installations, tank farms, offices, agents, insurers and should so on, worldwide network. reber sent network. reber sent word out to all of these people, send us immediately as you get it, any information you have regarding tankers heading for the spanish republic.
this information was then immediately passed on to the nationalists high command and it was used on the pilots and submarine captains looking for targets. because of of course this lifeline of oil to the spanish republic was essential, it was highly targeted, 29 oil tankers going to the spanish republic over the course of the work were sunk, damaged or captured and at least one or two cases we know that was done with the help of information from texaco. history books will tell you that the united states was neutral in the spanish civil war but texaco is not neutral. so these are some of the untold stories of the spanish civil war. i think it's enough. i hope i have a wedded your appetite to meet some of the people involved in this book. i would be glad to hear your comments or questions but
actually before we do that i have a question for you. does anybody here have a relative who is in spain at that time? just tell us who and where. [inaudible] his brother, my other uncle a union he raise money for the ambulance for the american regime. having ran the op-ed. >> isn't that amazing. when mark came back he was denied hospital visited and was
really in a lot of ways the whole family was in evolved with the antifascist committee. >> anyone else? as quickly. >> your father was an american volunteer. >> he was a medic and he knew nothing about medicine. is a one time he came up out and injure man he said the goats were hanging out and he put them all back in any heard the guy lived to somehow he made it work i don't how. but he said because there's all these countries that were there the internet and the language they used to be able to communicate with the other country -- [inaudible] yes. i was born in spain in 1942.
>> you were born is been in 1932. >> and you live through the civil war. because i was a child i have vivid memories of the entire rising of singapore. i've some comments if you would allow me to make them. actually you know i should ask if there's anybody else who can answer that question when you get in line so the microphone will pick it up. i forgot that we are supposed to say everything into the microphone so c-span which is filming this can hear a response. [inaudible] >> go ahead, thank you.
but they didn't and they didn't for two reasons. one is instead of having an organized forces, instead of that all of them were run by different leaders and so forth. and so the second thing that is more important is that eventually the republic site falls into complete dominance by the soviet union and people infiltrate and become the real leaders of the military. they deposed in favor of stalin
so the whole thing was -- stalin had the system of fighting among themselves and so forth and that created such disarray among the republic. i think that was probably the most important your by which they lost the war. [applause] >> thank you. there certainly was disarray on the republican side, there's no question about that. i guess i would question myself whether that was the real reason they lost the war. i think the reason they lost the war is that there were up against an enemy that was receiving huge stream of arms from hitler's germany mussolini's italy which as i mentioned sent 80,000 ground troops as well and the western
democracies did nothing. initially the position that there was disarray on their public inside which caused the nationalist two when george orwell took that position when he wrote catalonia. five years later he changed his mind and he said the course of the war was decided in london, paris, berlin and he should have added washington to the list. i think that was the real reason for the loss of the war. >> now med -- my name is chris finkel and my other was a reporter for "the new york times" and he spent six months in spain. >> and what years? >> 38. january to june. and he saw a lot of conflict and he got to meet franco number of times. he covered the franco side and herbert matthews covered the loyalist side but they knew each
other well and my father knew hemingway and a great friendship with martha and l. elkhorn and saved her life a half a dozen times because she was reckless. marrying -- married to him in way she had to be. >> that's true. but anyway whenever he was in a battle zone where there were american volunteers captured they made a point to have them rescued because they were going to be shot that's true. there were outsiders and many were naïve. he actually saved melton wills life once he became head of the abraham lincoln brigade in new york. >> and head of the abraham lincoln battalion in spain and one last story, he saw a battle and a captured 10 american abraham lincoln people and the captain of the spaniards who likes my father a lot and knew
he was close to franco said you pick five to live. and so my father interviewed them thoroughly and they thought i want to be in the newspaper and the ones he saved for the young ones you haven't seen in a battle. there were two that were pretty bad though. they were thugs and they have done a lot of destruction and he asked what the battles have you been in and when they set i was in this one or that one he knew there were atrocities he made sure they were given up. but one of the people he saved, he was very proud of was a young jewish medical student who had gone over to spain as an adventurer, saved his life. he ended up back in spain repatriated. this young medical student then got on a merchant marine ship that was actually torpedoed off
the coast of africa. he was the only survivor of the tropea to ship. he had enough of war. he goes back to columbia becomes a doctor and delivers over 10,000 aids and my father. is often the "washington post" and my father said that's the best thing i ever did in the war that's a true story. >> good for him. thank you. >> i would be interested in hearing about some of the obstacles he faced collecting your research materials, problems getting access to letters that were clearly no longer in the possession of the people people that helped them in those kinds of things. >> well, actually i didn't run into a lot of obstacles. maybe because there is such rich material in this period that when the pathway was blocked here i could easily find someone else to focus on. for anyone writing about this
time, there is really a rich array of material to draw from, from the american veterans for example, those who were in the international brigade of the 2800 young men and the number of women, a lot of nurses went to spain as well, for 2802 went there are diaries, letters, documents of some sort are probably more than 250 of them, most of which are in the tenement library of the year university. to have 10% of the survivors of anything historical, lead materials behind is a goldmine for historians. the one kind of thing that i which i had found more often didn't was records of some of the americans who did not fight
in the international brigades but fox for example in georgia or orwell's militia unit. there was an american howard melton of new york who is standing next to orwell and the trenches when he was shot. his unit had an american doctor. unfortunately no papers from either of these folks or any of the other handful of americans who know at that time had survived. journalists tend to keep everything so there was a lot of materials from the various journalists who covered the war. herbert matthews of "the new york times" kept a carbon copy of every dispatch he sent to the paper's headquarters in new york , so that people like me and us years later could see how terribly these were censored and condensed before they finally appeared in the newspaper.
i actually concluded that they did not do a lot of political censorship but matthews was quite long-winded and was one of the reporters and former editors here know certain reporters get wildly offended any time you cut the sentence out of their story. so i found an abundance of material to work from and as i mentioned i think it's always fun when you can put documents together that casts several different lights, several different kinds of light on the same event and sometimes even the same person saying something differently at different points in time. a little example of that for example, in hemingway's novel about the war "for whom the bell tolls", the central episode in that novel the blowing up of the
bridge behind nationalist lines, hemingway himself part in a. that lou up the bridge and i tell that story in the book. anyway in that novel he paints an excoriating picture of stalin's man who was in charge of the international brigades. when the book appeared in this country, the communist press was outraged because they had expected hemingway's much-anticipated book about the war would be about working-class men from different countries standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against fascism and the hero is a lover of spanish literature who is nonpolitical and here's this portrait of stalin's leading commissar in spain and one of american party
officials and spanish civil war veteran, himself an author of quite a good memoir about the war reviewed the novel and the communist party publication and talked about how dreadful it was that hemingway distorted history in this way and said these insulting things about you know the great antifascist andrea marteeyo. you compare it with bessie's own diary about when he met mark t. and found him with bug in the demagogue and said so in his diary. so it's putting together things like that. >> i think we are running out of time. >> a quick question. i recall one of the books i read mention was made that one franco forces marched into barcelona that one of the first political leaders they executed happened
if the president of barcelona, the soccer team. in your research did you find out anything about the role of the soccer club and the resistance? >> i did not. as i mentioned, yes you could write a whole other book about this period with a whole different set of care cares and the stories would be equally fascinating. >> my wife knew -- for 30 years i have lived in the shadow. can't measure up to that war hero. she did mention he was shot. he was wounded in the stomach and he met hemingway and said he was there again. his dad was in the brigade. a couple of questions quickly.
what would spain have looked like if the republicans won the republicans want to would it be stalinist or democratic and if the republicans one would hitler and mussolini maybe not started at start of the war? >> a good question. i think if the spanish public -- republicans one where the people of spain would have been much better off. there are right-wing historians who say well if a republican one it would become a soviet satellite industry that the soviets did have great insolence in the army and the security police but i think to effectively turn the country into a satellite you have to have military occupation. a soviet satellites in eastern europe had remained that way for 40 years because the red army was on hand and moscow didn't help, didn't stop to, didn't hesitate to deploy it when somebody got out of line like in hungary in 1956, it is germany
1953 and just look -- czechoslovakia in 1963. similarly the u.s. kept most nations in central america and the caribbean doing pretty much it wanted throughout the 20th century there is ceaseless string of military interventions without the red army occupying the public -- republicans painted out that it would have been a soviet satellite. what kind of a country would have been quite say think democratic, disorganized, chaotic but not a military dictatorship. furthermore in this sort of gets to the second question you asked, if the republicans won the war, spain would not have been a de facto ally for hitler in world war ii. spain never joined the axis powers in world war ii but franco gave hitler a base for 21
attack submarines on spain's united coast. spain supplied radio listing post encouraged 45 dozen young spaniards to volunteer for hitler's army and his doomed invasion of fresh and most important supplied hitler but they stream of strategic metals and minerals of the war, things that were very important in making weapons. if the republic of spain had one hitler would not have had a de facto ally in world war ii. i don't think it would have stopped hitler from launching the second world war because i think spain for hitler was always something of a sideshow. his real ambition was to show russia who was boss and control eastern europe and the western parts of the soviet union and breach the balkan and cascade oilfields. i don't think a loss in spain
app and c-span.org. >> good evening and welcome. my name is howard unger and on behalf of the holocaust memorial museum it's my honor to lucky me to today's program entitled ever let loose pursuit ringing holocaust perpetrators to justice. i am the son of a holocaust survivor and had served on the council for the u.s. museum museum for the past five years but i've come to learn that the museum is so much more than just a building that houses exhibits. the museum researches history, trains educators members and military and the judiciary both in the u.s. and internationally and has many programs focused on preventing future genocides from occurring again.
here in new york the northeast regional office offers a variety of events including talks like the one you're about to hear plus film screenings and programs on holocaust history as well as contemporary genocide and anti-semitism. tomorrow we will be holding this same program at the synagogue and not kisco new york so please encourage her westchester friends and families to join us there tomorrow evening at 7:45. tonight's program is part of a conversation of the u.s. holocaust memorial museum is holding nationwide examining the role each of us has when confronted with difficult and complex challenges. only in recent history has international law evolved to define and punish mass violence against civilians. out of the devastating crimes of the holocaust the allied powers were forced to bring state access to justice for unspeakable crimes never before tried in a court of law. a small percentage of nazi
officials and collaborators were brought to trial in immediate post-war period. as the years passed the global legal community largely lost interest in pursuing the remaining perpetrators however a few remarkable individuals continue to work to bring nazi criminals to justice and these later trials continue to influence international law. love grows the dissenting of presidents but how you apply the law helps determine what the law means. to the judgments of these tribunals and courts international law on genocide and crimes against humanity evolves deepening our understanding of the crimes and our capacity to respond. today our outstanding panel will discuss how these precedence were created and applied to help carry them out in the ongoing legacy of its history. it is now my pleasure to introduce a special guest. andrew nagorski, journalist and
author of the new book "the nazi hunters" and talk or lawrence douglas chair of the jurisprudence and social thought at amherst college and author of the right wrong man. our moderator this evening is dr. elizabeth white. she goes by mary. following the program both authors will be outside in the lobby to sign copies of their books. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> good evening everyone. i am dr. elizabeth barry white.
this is lawrence douglas and andrew nagorski. thank you all for coming out tonight and thank you both for participating in this program. brutal atrocities have been a feature of warfare since the dawn of human history and to the extent that perpetrators were ever made to account for their actions it was true acts over to fusion either winning side against the losers. during world war ii the allies signaled that they were going to take a different approach. late in 1943, as it became clear that nazi germany was going to lose the war, the leaders of the united states, great britain and the soviet union announced that the perpetrators of nazi atrocities would be brought to trial under the laws of the countries where they committed their crimes and that the major nazi leadership and criminals would face joint punishments by the allies.
did the signal that the allies have decided that they were going to forgo vengeance in favor of justice and what are they hope to accomplish by putting nazi criminals on trial? >> not really in the sense that justice and vengeance were inevitably intertwined at the end of the war and 1943 the moscow declaration that you cited there was a lot of fighting ahead all the way to berlin and a lot of it was very vicious and especially the red army had suffered massive losses and they were getting revenge, among others not just on the military but for instance rapes by the red army made it close to 2 million in germany. but, there you have that declaration which was a novel idea that instead of you exact vengeance you do seek justice but right away six weeks later
if the tehran conference call and said to roosevelt and churchill, zero i have an idea of justice. let's line up to 2000 or 100,000 of the top german commanders and let's shoot them. that would be justice. churchill was horrified and roosevelt said something like let's have a compromise. let's shoot 49,500. it didn't go over well with churchill but what's interesting it goes back and forth and eventually stalin and roosevelt decide they do want a trial for different reasons. stalin loved show trials. the 30s he had faked trials but roosevelt really wanted the principle and churchill was aware of the danger of the trap of show trials and he suddenly declassified documents we found out that at one point he was considering a plan to just have summary executions of a few top leaders and some just imprisoned without trial.
this went back and forth and eventually the trials happen as we know. nuremberg and so forth and it was imprisoned in but every step of the way was controversial right up to today. >> and what were the reasons they opted to go for the trials? where their particular goals besides holding people accountable? >> aside from holding people accountable and the obvious one that somebody has to be punished for all the horrors there was the educational elements very early and present chairman at one point said what these trials are meant to do is to make it impossible for someone to say now or anytime in the future that these things happened and that is why it immediately you have at the trials documents, films, witnesses and in some cases witnesses in some cases documentation by the west to set the record straight because so
many people were in denial but what happened especially in germany and austria but elsewhere in the world people are only beginning to grasp the aptitude of what it happen. so we were focusing on the german people and show them the evils that have been done in the name than? >> that was the priority at first and while we fought this war but there was a media opposition terms of the united states both on the left and the right. for the people who went into the concentration camps and liberated them they said no this is not justice. >> lawrence you are our legal expert here. the charges before the international military tribunal at nuremberg were crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. at least some of these word new terms. did the international legal
community consider these to be well-founded in existing law or were some of them particularly controversial? >> well the whole trial was engulfed in controversy. its remember that this was the first international criminal court in human history and in certain respects not only were there 21 individual incentives on trial, that is to the extent that the allies had committed to doing a trial program is supposed to summer education they really had to demonstrate that law was an adequate tool for dealing with crimes of this magnitude so they wanted to certainly make sure that whatever charges were brought against these defendants that they had adequate grounding in international law. that said i think we need to bear in mind that norbert trial, the famous before the international tribunal was not in the first instance a holocaust trial. as you mentioned the principle charge against the defendants
that norm berg was that they had waged an aggressive war in violation of international law and that charge to wage an aggressive war, that has not shown a lot of durability since nuremberg and even at the time it was very my chin developed and controversy. the victors justice was applied to the charge of waging an aggressive war because the question emerged since when in human history was waging war at crime? it might be something you don't like it might be something you disagree with us since when was it a crime? the other charges that were brought, were crimes is pretty well established in international law and crimes against humanity in my mind was the most distinctive contribution that norm berg made it was through the channel of this relatively new thing called crimes against humanity that most of the evidence of the crimes of the holocaust answered the nuremberg trial and i think
we can say now with 70 plus years of hindsight crimes against humanity was the most instinctive and important legal breakthrough of the nuremberg trial. >> and crimes against humanity included what kinds of actions? >> a basically included what we can describe as extermination, systematic attacks on the civilian population. we have to remember that genocide which is a term that we offered used today to describe discriminatory practices genocide was only coined as a term in 1944 a year before the trial started. it was coined by a legal adviser to the u.s. war department and so even though today genocide stands as an independent crime and international law at the time of norm burkett was very much a new term and it does emerge in the trial itself.
if you look in particular at the closing prosecutors they start to use this new term but the new term of genocide is basically used as a description of the nazis crimes against humanity. >> i think that was in the indictment as well. >> the indictment is mentioned as a war crime and in the closing arguments of the lawyers that prosecutors then started describing it as a crime against humanity. >> if you are going to hold a trial yet to present evidence to support the charges and so late in the war the united states army formed war crimes investigative teams and the mission was to accompany combat troops as they fought their way across germany and to seize and collect evidence of nazi war crimes. let's take a look at how this works according to nuremberg prosecutors.
the same time you've got nothing and to bring the two together is not easy. >> between 1945 in 1948 there were thousands of trials of nazi criminals by the allies, in germany. >> there are several but i will point to three and i will get that to ben for ends in a moment but with poland where there was an investigator by the name of of --. he was from a polish family of german origin and i discovered researching a story it turns out that his brother during the occupation that registered as ethnic german and became the mayor of a small town and disappeared after the war, he was a lawyer who did not do that
and he became the most fervent war crimes investigator in poland and he was the one for instance those of you who of course know from schindler's list the concentration camp commander. he was the one who had him hanged but most importantly the most important was the longest-serving commandant of auschwitz and what was interesting he was representing a regime that communist post-post regime so he had gone by the stalin rules. he would summon the guy how to make a quick statement hang him. instead he spent days, weeks, months coaxing tests to write his whole life story and the story of the camp and it is i think the most chilling document of the holocaust because here is hess explaining how he's a functionary in working so hard and he is hurting kids and women
into the gas chambers but i'm working so hard that i don't have time to play with my own kids across the yard. and it's beginning, he understood the value of these trials is to get them on record and everybody he got on record and later on it with these the basis for the auschwitz trial and the guards in germany as well so in his trial has was hanged in 1947 but as much as the verdict and the outcome i think it's what that produce. and for those of you don't know for ends is 96 years old. he's incredible. he's about 5 feet tall and he is an amazing person. when i went to see them with my wife in delray beach florida he was just back from the. jenna: and the showing my wife is biceps.
and he became at age 27 the prosecutor in what was called the special killing squads case that the nazis sent out to the eastern front before the gas chambers were operational. this was at warm up mass murder and has been described it a researcher found all the records the germans were scripted lists. they have the records, how many people were killed in this village this day and how many the next day and he said i sat down with my calculator, adding machine and when i reached 1 million i stopped counting. he goes to the chief prosecutor for the follow-up trial and says we have to try these guys. taylor says we don't have it budgeted. i don't even have a prosecutor for this. he does that at age 27 and in
that case very well-educated commanders of these groups, just a fascinating morbid case but it's also calculates what happened. 13 of the 22 he had in the dock were sentenced to death and eventually only for the more hangs because the bandstand by 1958 the rest were out. finally the one other case i will briefly mention william dems and who is another army prosecutor and he conducted the dock out trials of concentration camps and this was to get the people who are actually they are carrying out the worst work of really killing and torturing prisoners. and he espoused a theory called common design which was a theory
that if you were part of the death machinery you were guilty. whether or not you could true view killed person x, y or z. this was a complete contradiction that case. you have the controversy which goes right up to the present and then his trials were overshadowed by one case. he was the longest-serving commander in chief was known as the pitch of ogun fall. she was known for her sadism and for going around and torturing having prisoners beaten and for flaunting her sexuality and then having prisoners picked off a responded in any way to it again there were various stories in the press that she had reznor's especially with tattoos taken away, killed and stripped and
lamp shades made of their skin. a lot of this, some of this became dubious and especially that latter part and later on she was, her sentence reduced from a life sentence by clay to four years and there's a whole uproar in washington. but interestingly enough west germany once in these trials as soon she was let out she was imprisoned by west germany and given a life sentence. she committed suicide in prison. >> well, as you indicated after 1948 the allies were crime trials program really peter daut and instead of trying people they were commuting sentences and granting clemency and by 1958 pretty much everyone who had been convicted that hadn't
been executed after sentence was free. lawrence i want to ask you what were the reasons for this change correct of a few through the trials? where through answered the through the third answers the cold war. i think that was really the reality where at some point the united states made the calculation that we needed west germany as a dependable ally against our former allies the soviet union and it was really just a calculation of trying to appease the germans. the germans turned against the allied war crimes program, really really aggressively and at the time of the nuremberg trials for the international tribunal, the germans were actually quite sympathetic or at least they expressed their
actual views but in the polls that were taken by the americans they express support for the nuremberg trials. when these additional trials were conducted some of the ones that andy was describing the germans felt now the allies were rubbing our faces in our crimes we do want to transition to a democratic society. obviously in making that transition to the democratic side they were at tremendous number of former nazis who continue to occupy positions of power particularly within the legal apparatus of west germany. those persons had very little incentive to support an aggressive war crimes program and so once the soviet union emerged as the principle antagonists of the united states and once the united states can't later that germany was used as an allied than the americans were willing to do a lot in order to secure support of germany and unfortunately it
took the form of basically commuting sentences of perpetrators of genocide. >> one specific example i interviewed the man who became the head of the first cia base in lynn, the oss. he himself was a german jewish who had left germany as a teenager in the 30s, gone to prison and came to united states, became a citizen and joined the army and the oss and the cia. so the young head of the first cia based in berlin, he said i was not interested in fighting the last war. they got rid of the young, the big guys. it's time to move on and that was the prevailing sentiment. he really just felt that very strongly. >> you have each written a book
about the pursuit of justice for nazi crimes and your book focus particularly on the era after the allied war crimes trial program but you have taken different approaches. your book focuses on specific individuals who plated dave -- very different role in the pursuit of justice. explain how you picture subjects and why you thought this was a good way to approach the topic. >> i think first of all you have to understand when you say nazi hunters which is a very loose phrase and i know many people in the justice department so forth have qualms about it but there were two essential groups. there were the people who were the government and military prosecutors and investigators and you have the authority of governing behind them and there were what i call the freelance nazi hunters people like holocaust survivors and who made
it their mission to publicize them push the issues when it was unpopular to do so and when that situation happened were governments were dropping this very quickly even people who were seen as a controversial character but everybody gives him credit for keeping this issue alive. the other thing that intrigued me as a reporter from recovering the collapse of communism i'm struck a history in retrospect looks so inevitable. this must have happened this way. in fact that's not sure in my experience. individuals making decisions there are two things that i write about, determination and for lack of a better word or a good word chutzpah.
they all demonstrate chutzpah by saying i can take on this bigger case and by the display of the famous incident where is the corporal marlena dietrich came to the general headquarters and he was told to guard the latrines or she could take a bath. at a certain moment he walked into the bath when he was sure she was in it and so impressed that dietrich that she -- determination though not to be stopped and so you have people like four n.'s -- forentz who are strongly motivated and he had chris bauer who was from a jewish family, social democrats had gone into exile and he was determined to make the germans face up to the past when it was incredibly unpopular as lawrence
said. when sentiment was running against it and eventually it orchestrated the auschwitz trial and provided the cue stick for the idol wildman case. later on you had people in the united states and france. those of you that know something about it she grew up in their father was in the german army pitch he came to paris and fell in love. his father died -- with and she suddenly learning about all of this became passionate, going after nazis wherever she saw them and when a former nazi became the mayor, the chancellor of west germany in 1968 she actually got onto the stage like this and snuck by with a press credential by the newspaper people.
who tried twice in the united states on civil immigration charges for having lied on his immigration forms and he earned the distinction of being the only person in american history to be twice stripped of his naturalized u.s. citizenship. he was tried once in israel in the late 19 '80s as ivan -- as an ivan the terrible. this was a spectacular case in israel, the the only other case that rivals that is the trial of adolph fleischman. he was condemned and sentenced to death. his phase of the trial court sided with the unraveling of the soviet union. what this meant was that both
defense lawyers and israeli prosecutor suddenly got access to literally hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that have been moldering in the kgb files and what this evidence indicated was that the israelis have the wrong guy. now he had been convicted almost exclusively on the basis of eyewitness testimony of the survivors of treblinka who store a trance war with the uncertainty to recognize their former tormentor. this legendarily guard and these were survivors who were they testified they went out of their way of saying look, i'm not like someone who suffered the trauma of a passing car accident where i caught a fleeting glance of the person who injured me. i saw this guy day in, day out for months on end and his image is burned into my retina.
yet when the appellate phase had run its course the israeli supreme court was able to conclude that they had got it wrong. they had mis- identified him and this legendarily guard named or known as ivan the terrible was in fact at entirely different ukrainian named ivan march ankle. what made it to into a legal storm was that at the same time a year not been ivan the terrible's also also made clear that he had been we can call ivan that not so hot, that is in fact he had been a guard but not in treblinka but an equally lethal nazi death camp camp -- this led to proceedings that led to his deportation to germany in 2009. in 2009 he stood trial in germany as ivan the not so hot
rather than ivan the terrible of treblinka. i use this very lengthy and bizarre case. it's a conduit to look at the larger legal struggles. looking at many different cases involving the effort to bring perpetrators an also collaborators in the holocaust to justice. >> the iceman trial that you both mentioned that was really a watershed event in the pursuit of justice for nazi crimes. can you talk a a little bit each of you are what you think the impact of that case was in my about it was so important. >> let me me just say one thing as a prelude to that trial, we all think of that the israelis were out there hunting for not to's everywhere. and i went to israel in researching this book and found
that the two members of the team lead the team that physically snatched him at the time but coffee, the commander of the ground operation was there and he's still alive and i talked to him about it when it one point he said in 1953 i went to germany and i thought nazis, and he said no it's not what you're thinking. i went there because at the time israel needed to vet all of the jews coming from eastern europe from the soviet union, poland and hungary who is coming to israel. they needed it for the population but they also knew that some of them were being recruited by the kgb and other eastern intelligence agencies. there be reporting back to their capitals, budapest or moscow and then be going straight to the outside. that was our our priority. was not even thinking about nazis then and israel why the
u.s. had it. >> a patient with the cold war, israel had its preoccupation with just existing. but by the late 50s when they got this tip about eichmann's presence in argentina, at that point the origin really was in this is again there's one member of the prosecution saying gabriel block he said in our concern was that the holocaust was being forgotten not just abroad, but it was not being talked about in israel. before the reason that young israelis could not understand how this could have happened, how people could have gone to their death seemingly without fighting and in israel you understood fighting and death. and that this would be if they got eichmann it would be a chance to explain this process and then during at that point they authorize the operation once the leads panned out which was a very long and difficult story.
>> the trial was a great holocaust trial. if we go back to what were saying about nuremberg you recall nuremberg was not in the first of the holocaust trial was about aggressive war. in fact one thing that disturbed many holocaust survivors was at the nuremberg trial was a trial not of the testimony of people that survived, it was a trial by document. it is a trial in which the prosecutors basically read thousands and thousands of pages of captured nazi doctrines into the record in one of the consequences of that trial by document at nuremberg was the famous british writer rebecca west covered the nuremberg trial for the daily telegraph in britain. she famously described described nuremberg as a citadel of boredom. she said it was a boredom on a historic scale. part of it was that it lacked
the vibrancy of having a human voice. david ben-gurion and in particular the israeli attorney general very specifically wanted to make a trial which was supposed to merck nuremberg which would really focus on that holocaust and it would be a trial in which lived history would be told through the memory of survivors. that is exactly how the trial unfolded with many survivors testifying in both houston or were astonished by the success of the trial. they certainly wanted to trial as suggested for the purpose of trying to teach a domestic audience about the holocaust. they were completely caught by surprised at the degree to which the trial riveted not just simply at domestic audiences and reseal israel but international
audiences. to put it on the map in west germany and put the holocaust on the map in the united states. in fact in many ways i hope this formulation is not confusing, but in the certain way it created the holocaust as the event as we now know it, that is up until the eichmann trial you can say that the extermination of the jews of europe was seen as a one of the features of the second world war. after the trial it starts to emerge in the way that we see the holocaust today which is perhaps as exemplary event of the 20th century. >> and that generated huge intellectual debate with going through the trial in her theory about the trial and weather is eichmann the minor functionary which was carrying out orders as he tried to betray himself or was the monster that others pretrade himself and then what you say if someone is a monster
than does that absolve other people who say only the monsters did this. so it becomes a focal point not just for justice and holocaust studies, but human psychology at its most basic level. >> it gave rise to many of these famous tight psychology experiments. with all these things were motivated and trying to make sense of the psychology of the perpetrator. so that is also one of the very interesting things that all these trials do. they create images of what it means to be a perpetrator of these crimes. >> so then in 1979 that united states justice department creates the office of special investigation and gives it exclusive authority to investigate and bring legal action against nazi criminals who are living in the united states.
so in 1979 had anything done before? what are the government then at a time when almost nobody else was trying nazi criminals decide to undertake this venture? >> i think an interesting thing is time as one suggested the eichmann trial, the various earlier trials and how this affected geographically in time. i think the key moment is 1964 when stephen hears about this woman called grounds timer. he hears the story from survivors who are talking about this vicious guard who is called cabello which in polish means the mayor and she was kicking and lashing out at prisoners. they say what happened to this woman? they eventually trace her, she
had, she was from austria and she had served it briefly in prison in austria. then she marries an american by the name of russell ryan and is living in queens. joe lawn fell to later becomes the editor of the new york times as the hub reporter said go out and we have this kid from the and there's this woman in queens he knocks on her door, he writes a story in 1964 and until and intel it takes him till 1971 for for the ins to finally strip her of her citizenship and she is sent to germany, eventually convicted there and spent several years in prison in germany. but it begins to raise questions in other other people say will who else was in the united states and there are various reports, the ins's post about these things and not to