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EPILOGUE: The Aftermath
 pg. 673 
The second part of Emanuel Ringelblum's Oneg Shabbat archive, which documented events in the Warsaw Ghetto, was discovered in 1950. The third and final part has never been found.
Photo: Yad Vashem Photo Archives / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Nazi Hunters

Following the war, a quest was undertaken to locate Nazis who had fled and bring them to justice. Two men, Simon Wiesenthal and Serge Klarsfeld, became the two most successful Nazi hunters.

Wiesenthal (pictured), who survived several camps including Buchenwald and Mauthausen, founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, to locate, extradite, and try Nazi war criminals. He later moved his investigative activities to Vienna. His tireless efforts brought Franz Stangl, commandant of Sobibór and Treblinka, and other Nazis to the bar of justice.

Klarsfeld experienced the Holocaust as a child. Born in Bucharest, Romania, he and his family fled to Nice, France, where they hid from the Nazis. He, his mother, and his sister avoided the Nazis' dragnet, but his father was captured and killed in Auschwitz. The efforts of Klarsfeld and his wife, Beate, led to the capture of Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyons." Extradited from Bolivia, Barbie was tried in France and sentenced to life in prison.

Intent on preventing Nazis from living out their lives in peaceful obscurity, Wiesenthal and the Klarsfelds have dedicated themselves to shining the light of public scrutiny on war criminals and those who would offer them sanctuary.
Photo: Archive Photos

Second, far from being reluctant murderers, some Germans actually became willing executioners of the European Jews. Typically, those same Germans were a representative cross-section of the German population. Therefore, with exceptions that only prove the rule, ordinary Germans stand indicted for the destruction of the European Jews.

Goldhagen's evidence for these claims derived initially from his appraisal of German antisemitism. According to his reading of that history, venomous forms of cultural and racist antisemitism became the ethical standard in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, well before Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in 1933. Such antisemitism called for the elimination of Jews and Jewish influence in Germany. In one way or another, then, the majority of the German populace was pre-pared to destroy Jews.

When the Nazis came to power, they advocated an overtly exterminationist antisemitism. Crucial to Goldhagen's argument was his claim that this exterminationist ideology was only a variation on the already eliminationist antisemitism that had existed in Germany for some time. During the Nazi period, 1933 to 1945, German perpetrators of the Holocaust willingly persecuted and destroyed Jews because they shared the Nazis' antisemitic perspective. This perspective held that the annihilation of the Jews was necessary and just, for the Jews were a deadly pestilence threatening the racial superiority and political prerogatives that properly belonged to Germans.

Given legitimacy by the Nazi regime, the German killers, according to Goldhagen, were not an extraordinary minority. Instead they were representative of the German populace.

 1961: A wall erected at the edge of the Babi Yar, Ukraine, killing ground collapses, dumping mud, water, and human remains into the streets of Kiev. Twenty-four people are killed in subsequent fires and in flooded buildings and tram cars.
 1961: Israel dedicates the Hall of Remembrance, a Holocaust commemoration.
 1961: Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal reopens a Documentation Center of Nazi war criminals in Vienna.
 1961: The Origins of the Second World War, a book by revisionist British historian A.J.P. Taylor, is published. The book attempts to spread the blame for World War II beyond Hitler to Allied leaders.
 April 11-August 14, 1961: In Israel, the trial of Adolf Eichmann takes place. He is found guilty and sentenced to death; See May 1962.
 1962: Hans Globke, state-secretary of West Germany and onetime spearhead of antisemitic legislation in Hitler's Germany, proposes legislation to rectify the exploitation of Jews by German corporations. West German industry rejects Globke's plan.
EPILOGUE: The Aftermath
 pg. 673 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.