In recent years, a number of studies have explored the unique legal phenomenon of the Israeli court cases that applied the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law of 1950. The defendants were Jewish kapos or members of the Jewish police, themselves Holocaust survivors, who were considered to be collaborators with the Nazis. Most of these studies point out how these trials blurred the lines between criminal law and moral judgment, focusing on either the legislators, the defendants, or the court. In contrast, the present article examines the trials through the lens of one individual who was central to shaping and implementing the law: Joseph Lamm. Lamm's contribution stemmed from three different positions: from his experience as a prisoner in the Dachau camp, as a legislator who formulated the 1950 law, and as a judge in two criminal proceedings based on the law (which ended in opposite legal outcomes). The article argues that Lamm's personal experiences shaped his perceptions of the dual function of the law as both practical and declarative. This, in turn, affected his understanding of the law's content (as a legislator) and how it should be interpreted (as a judge).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We wish to thank The Nathan and Judith Feinberg Fund for International Law Research and The Jacob Robinson Institute for the History of Individual and Collective Rights, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for their help in funding this research.
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. All rights reserved.