“I have never accepted the argument that any remaining suspected Nazi war criminals must be so old that prosecuting them perpetrates an injustice. The passing of time hasn’t made the crimes any less heinous. The memories of Holocaust survivors are still all too fresh. The desire to see justice done remains strong.”
All well and good, but from then on, Lerman’s arguments become increasingly laborious and convoluted. He continues by arguing that “the trial of Demjanjuk could constitute a mockery of the law” and seems to claim that the process of bringing Nazi war criminals to trial is in some way counter-productive in that it has the effect of “encouraging people to believe that we have come to the end of dealing with the consequences of the Holocaust.”.
He then claims that Auschwitz “obscures rather than reveals the full breadth, depth and multi-faceted nature of the Holocaust” and declares that “[i]n western Europe, Belarus doesn’t figure in our memory”. Towards the end of this tortuous article, Lerman tells us that “I deplore the extent to which it [the Holocaust] shapes Jewish identity” without any further clarification. He goes on to describe the trials of suspected Nazi war criminals as “a phase that must pass.”.
Go back a moment to that opening paragraph: the level of confusion and contradiction, mixed together with Lerman’s projections of his own opinions onto others is really quite astounding.
If, like me, you reach the end of Lerman’s article feeling as though you have been lost for hours in Hampton Court Maze, help is at hand. Over at normblog a post entitled ‘Straw Lerman’ will help clear your head and lend clarity to Lerman’s piece which is otherwise absent.
“Talk about inventing an argument so that you’ve got something to write to the contrary.”
Talk about hitting the nail on the head, Norm!