So you remember precisely . . .
In her poem "We Jews,"which provides the epigraph for this third part of Different Voices, Gertrud Kolmarcried out:
If only I could raise my voice to be a blazing torch Amidst the darkening desert of the world, and thunder: JUSTICE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE!
She wrote those words before the Holocaust happened. After Auschwitz the intensity of their yearning escalates. It does so because the immensity of the "Final Solution" mocked justice and still does. The dead cannot return; the survivors must cope with the ruins of memory. The perpetrators have overwhelmed the resources and determination needed to bring them to judgment. Even the credibility of God to do so has been impugned, for, as Vera Laska once put it, "In Auschwitz God, finding it impossible to cope, went on an extended vacation, as if replaced by a sign: 'For the duration, this office is closed.'"
At the end of World War II there were courtroom efforts to keep the "Final Solution" from mocking justice completely. Sporadically those judicial proceedings have continued into the 1990s. Among the most famous of the war crimes trials were those held by the International Military Tribunal in the German city of Nuremberg from October 18, 1945, until October 1, 1946. Twenty-two of Nazi Germany's top leaders stood trial there. Three of the defendants were acquitted of the charges brought against them. The sentences of the nineteen found guilty ranged from ten-