The public debate about the murder of European Jews began in the courtroom. In 1958, German authorities started systematically investigating Nazi criminals. However, these investigations only seldom resulted in indictments. There was a lack of concrete evidence that could be used to prove suspects were personally responsible for murder. As a result, most of the charges had to be dropped. On the other hand, the court proceedings also served as a means of researching and documenting events that had taken place in the camps.

The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial (1963-1965) ended the long silence about Nazi trials. Over 200 camp survivors gave testimony. International media reported from the courtroom.

The Dusseldorf Majdanek trial (1975-1981) was the longest trial ever held in a German court.


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