International Conference

International Conference

Political and Transitional Justice in Germany, Poland and the USSR from the 1930s-1950s

 Warsaw, 12-14 March 2015

Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for Prosecutions of Crimes against the Polish Nation (Warsaw), Institute of Contemporary History (München-Berlin), Deutsches Historisches Institut (Warsaw), Deutsches Historisches Institut (Moskau), and MEMORIAL Historical, Educational, Human Rights And Charitable Society (Moskau)

„Political Justice”, according to Otto Kirchheimer’s classical work, is the enlargement of „the area of political action by enlisting the services of the courts on behalf of political goals”. The development of this phenomenon is driven by the increasing importance of laws and courts in modern society. This relates not only to democratic states but also to authoritarian ones and even to the most extreme regimes in the European history of the 20th century, Nazism and Stalinism. For them, too, despite their nearly boundless use of force, political justice was an indispensable instrument of governing. „Speaking legally” on political matters is a special form of communication between rulers and their subjects aiming at gaining specific legitimization, which is not attainable by using other methods.

In his study Kirchheimer also dealt with what is today known as „transitional justice”. This obviously makes sense, since it is hardly possible to imagine „completely apolitical” and „purely juridical” court trials on state crimes, especially when it comes to the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime and their judgment by Stalinist courts or juridical bodies under the influence of Stalinist jurisdiction.

The history of political justice in Germany, Poland and the USSR during their most difficult periods reflects the character and the problems of their specific political systems as well as the mainly tragic entanglements between the three countries. The norms of political criminal law are to a very high degree based on the perceptions of dangers for the existing order. In the period and region at issue here they were – justly so or not – often related to the political aspirations of one of the neighbour states. The procedures and practices of political justice, especially with regard to the principle of the „equality of arms” of defendants and accusers in trials, are indicators for the degree of state control over society, and as such open perspectives for comparative approaches. The conference aims at a broad overview of manifestations of political justice in Germany, Poland and the USSR from the 1930s–1950s.

The conference will take place in Warsaw at the IPN’s Educational Center „Przystanek Historia” (Marszałkowska 21/25 Street). The language of the conference will be German, Polish and Russian. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

All those interested are encouraged to participate. Conference participation is free of charge.

Thursday, 12.03.2015

18:00–18:15 WELCOME
18:15–19:00 Jürgen Zarusky (IfZ)
19:00–19:30 [questions/discussion]

Friday, 13.03.2015

Moderator: Stephen Lehnstaedt (DHI Warsaw)

09:00–09:20 Arsenij Roginskij (Memorial, Moscow): The Relation between Judicial and Extrajudicial Political Persecution in the USSR from 1921-1953
09:20–09:40 Ingo Müller: Judicial and Extrajudicial Political Persecution in the Nazi Regime – Structures, Logics, Developments
09:40–10:00 Andrzej Paczkowski (IPN Council, Institute of Political Studies at the Polish Academy of Science):
Crime, Treason, Greed – Poland’s settling accounts with the collaboration after the WW II

10:00–10:30 Commentator/Discussion

10:30–11:00 Coffee break

Moderator: Alexander Daniel
11:00–11:20 Jan Rachinskij (Memorial, Moscow): Judgement „by Lists” 1937-38

11:20–11:40 Jurij Schapowal, Trial against the so-called „Union for the Liberation of Ukraine”. Methods of fabrication, mechanisms, repercussions

11:40–12:00 Irina Romanova (European University of Humanities, Vilnius): Provincial parody of Justice: District courts in Belarus in the year 1937

12:00–12:30 Commentator/Discussion

12:30–14:00 Lunch break

Moderator: Magnus Brechtken (IFZ)

14:00–14:20 Ingo Loose (Institute of Contemporary History, Berlin Branch): Special courts (Sondergerichte) in occupied Western Poland (1939–1945) as a means of terror and as a source to a social history of occupation (working title)

14:20–14:40 Maximilian Becker (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute) Justice and Propaganda: Press reports of a Trial of the Posen Special Penal Court in a Case of „September Crimes”

14:40–15:00 Jarosław Rabiński (Catholic Univeristy of Lublin): Legal Witch-hunt? Settling account with the sc. „Sanacja” regime in the politics of the Polish government in exile during the WWII

15:00–15:30 Commentator/Discussion

15:30–16:00 Coffee break

Moderator: Władysław Bułhak (IPN)

16:00–16:20 Marek Kornat, Polish lawyers (Makowski, Komarnicki, Rappaport and Lemkin) and the search for the new definition of the mass crimes against humanity. International perspective.

16:20–16:40 Edith Raim, Edith ( Institute of Contemporary History, Munich): Judicial Persecution of Nazi Crimes in Western and Eastern Germany 1945-1950

16:40–17:00 Nikita Petrov (Memorial, Moscow): Judicial and Extrajudicial Practices of Punishing War Criminals 1945-1953

17.00–17:20 Lukasz Jasinski (Museum of the Second World War, Gdańsk): Post-war squaring in Poland and Czechoslovakia 1945-1949. An attempt of comparison

17:20–18:00 Commentator/Discussion

Saturday, 14.03.2015
Moderator: Tanja Penter (DHI Moscow)

09:00–09:20 Joana Lubecka (IPN, Kraków): Psychology and Justice. The Trials of German perpetrators in Małopolska Region (Krakow) from the perspective of the judged

09:20–09:40 Adam Dziurok, Special Penal Court in Katowice 1945-1946. Specificity of settling account with the Nasi crimes on the Polish-German borderland in Upper Silesia.

09:40–10:00 Mark Kramer (Harvard University): Soviet Advisers and the Political Show Trials in Central and Eastern Europe, 1949-1953: A Reassessment Based on Recently Declassified Archival Evidence

10.00–10:20 Hubert Seliger (University of Augsburg): Political Attorneys? Defence lawyers in the Nuremberg Trials

10:20–11:00 Commentator/Discussion

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

11:30–13:00 Panel discussion moderator: Sandra Dahlke (DHI Moscow)
Panel discussion: Krzysztof Persak (IPN), Jürgen Zarusky (IFZ), Arsenij Roginskij (Memorial)

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