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Transition on Trial
Transition on Trial

The People’s Tribunals between Historiography and the Politics of Memory in Post-War Romania

Author(s): Emanuel-Marius Grec
Subject(s): Law and Transitional Justice, Political history, Social history, Politics and law, Comparative politics, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), Post-War period (1950 - 1989), Transformation Period (1990 - 2010), Fascism, Nazism and WW II, History of the Holocaust, History of Antisemitism, Politics of History/Memory
Published by: Institutul National pentru Studierea Holocaustului din Romania ELIE WIESEL
Keywords: the People’s Tribunals; post-war justice; Soviet influence; transition; Holocaust in Romania;

Summary/Abstract: In this article, I examine the People’s Tribunals and the relevant debates surrounding them. I focus in particular on the symbolic role of these special trials in the Romanian public imagination after 1989, as well as the ways in which scholars can better fit them into existing historiographical patterns. Concepts such as “political justice” or “transition” will also be further explored. Also, I analyze the way in which the Soviet influence in these post-war trials has been perceived, while also looking at the multiple ways in which it can be interpreted. I then show that the study of the Holocaust in Romania is contingent upon understanding these crucial post-war attempts to deal with the horrors of Romania’s past. With all their issues, the People’s Tribunals were crucial in condemning war criminals who perpetrated the genocide of Jews and Roma in Romania. Their unique character must be drawn into relief as they were based on special laws, as ordinary courts did not have the capacity to deal with the unprecedented nature of the crimes that took place during World War II. In this sense, seeing these legal proceedings within the larger European context of dealing with Nazi crimes is of the utmost importance.

  • Issue Year: XII/2020
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 293-326
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: English