MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

(Un)justice

In total, not more than 15% of the Auschwitz garrison faced trial before the tribunals of various countries. This percentage is, nevertheless, high in proportion to that for other concentration camps.

The battle to bring war crimes suspects to justice was definitively lost after the war, and not only with regard to Auschwitz. The solemn declarations that the Allies made at the beginning of the war had little in common with the situation just a few years after the end of hostilities. The Cold War and the new political division of Europe did not favor a thorough search for justice or a reckoning for the memory of the victims of German genocide.

Some countries in fact hindered the extradition of war criminals. Ghana, for instance, protected Auschwitz doctor Horst Schumann, and some South American countries were sufficiently uncooperative that the criminal SS physician Josef Mengele succeeded in living out his life in hiding.