TITLE: Transitional Justice or Just Transitions?: The German Case, 1945-50
SPEAKER: Devin Pendas
EVENT DATE: 05/20/2010
RUNNING TIME: 62 minutes
While everyone has heard of the Nuremberg Trials, few people are aware that at that same time, tens of thousands of Germans were being prosecuted in German courts for Nazi crimes. Historian Devin Pendas will discuss the surprising role these trials played in the early history of the two Germanys, West and East. Contrary to what many advocates of what has come to be called "transitional justice" would expect, prosecuting Nazi atrocities played an important role in consolidating East Germany's emerging Stalinist dictatorship. And it was West German hostility to prosecuting Nazi crimes that proved most important to its eventual democratic success.
Speaker Biography: Devin Pendas received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history from Carleton College. During his fellowship at the Center, he was Associate Professor of History at Boston College. For his Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellowship, Professor Pendas conducted research for his project "Justice after the Fact: Nazi Trials in German Courts, 1945-1950." Pendas is a Burkhardt Fellow.