|Dr. Gabriel N. Finder - Lecturer in Modern Jewish History, University of Virginia
In the aftermath of World War II, Jews and Poles shared a strong interest in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Polish authorities created the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, sent a Polish delegation to the Nuremberg Trial, and established the Supreme National Tribunal to try major Nazi war criminals. For their part, Jewish survivors in Poland founded the Central Jewish Historical Commission largely in order to help bring German war criminals to justice. However, this meeting of the minds had limits. From the Polish perspective, the Nazis’ persecution and murder of Poland’s Jews were just one instance of German criminal behavior, overshadowed by the Germans’ cruel treatment of Polish civilians. Thus just under the surface of this uncommon postwar convergence of Jewish and Polish legal interests lay a deeper difficulty: the discovery of some common ground in their respective judicial memories of World War II.