chapter  6
18 Pages

The ‘Overcoming of the Past’ and the Prosecution of War Criminals

The ‘overcoming of the past’ is a phrase coined by the West Germans themselves to describe the efforts to be made by the German people as a whole to live down, as it were to purge itself, of the heavy moral burden weighing on it as a result of crimes against humanity, committed in its name by agents of the political establishment of the Third Reich. The subject is vast and goes too far beyond the scope of this book to be treated in full here. In addition to the six million Jews, millions of non-Jewish civilians were murdered by the Nazis in occupied Europe, including in Germany itself. But some treatment of this subject is called for as it has always touched and continues to touch a raw nerve in West GermanIsraeli relations.