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Rhetorical Vectors of Memory in National and International Holocaust Trials

During the past several decades, the twentieth-century Holocaust has become a defining event in many histories. This newfound respect for the Judeocide has been cathartic for both individuals and communities, in that it provides evidence that audiences around the world are rethinking the significance of the World War II narratives of bystanders, perpetrators, and victims. Given the complexities of these issues, scholars who are interested in studying Holocaust memory make choices about the questions on which they focus, the artifacts they select for analysis, and the perspectives they want to present. Hasian reviews how national and international courts have used Holocaust trials as forums for debates about individuated justice, historical record keeping, and pedagogical memory work. He concludes that the trials involving Auschwitz, Demjanjuk, Eichmann, Finta, Nuremberg, Irving, Kastner, Keegstra, Sawoniuk, and Zundel are highly problematic. The author provides a rhetorical analysis of holocaust trials as a way of looking into the question of what role court proceedings play in the creation of Holocaust collective memories.
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About the Author

Marouf A. Hasian Jr. is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. He is on the Editorial Board of Rhetoric & Public Affairs, an interdisciplinary journal devoted to the history, theory, and criticism of public discourse, and author of several books, including in the Name of Necessity: Military Tribunals and the Loss of American Civil Liberties.

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