Press Release

3 April 2023

Book presentation and talk with Katharina Stengel and Axel Doßmann

Die Überlebenden vor Gericht


On Wednesday, 26 April at 6 p.m., the Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture - Simon Dubnow in cooperation with Brill Deutschland - Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht/Böhlau Verlag will be holding a book presentation with the historian and author Dr. Katharina Stengel at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. In conversation with media historian Dr. Axel Doßmann, she will present her publication "Die Überlebenden vor Gericht" (The Survivors in Court) and use the example of the Auschwitz trials from three decades to show the role and significance of the victims for the Nazi trials.

Even in the early post-war period, the crimes of National Socialism were tried in detail in criminal proceedings. In many cases, it was only the Holocaust survivors and former concentration camp inmates who laid the foundation for the conviction of the accused with their testimonies. At the same time, they were often subjected to massive mistrust by German jurists who considered the survivors too biased to give objective testimony. In conversation with Katharina Stengel (Frankfurt am Main), Axel Doßmann (Berlin/Jena) discusses how the jurists dealt with the survivors and their elusive accounts, how the witnesses themselves acted in court, what concerns they pursued and what conclusions they drew from their experiences. In the process, different theoretical conceptions of testimony are related to the survivors' self-reports.

The publication »Die Überlebenden vor Gericht. Auschwitz-Häftlinge als Zeugen in NS-Prozessen (1950–1976)« was published in 2022 in the series »Studies of the Dubnow Institute«. It is available free of charge as an open access publication on the website of the publisher Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht and is also available in book form.