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Professor Devin Pendas

Dr. Devin Pendas
2007-2008 Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow

"Justice after the Fact: Nazi Trials in German Courts, 1945-1950"

Professional Background

Devin Pendas received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history from Carleton College. During his fellowship at the Center, he was Associate Professor of History at Boston College. For his Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellowship, Professor Pendas conducted research for his project “Justice after the Fact: Nazi Trials in German Courts, 1945-1950.”

Professor Pendas is the author of The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965: Genocide, History and the Limits of the Law (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) and numerous articles such as “Eichmann in Jerusalem, Arendt in Frankfurt: The Eichmann Trial, the Auschwitz Trial and the Banality of Justice” in New German Critique (2007); “‘The Magical Scent of the Savage’: Colonial Violence the Crisis of Civilization and the Origins of the Legalist Paradigm of War” in The Boston College International and Comparative Law Review (2007); and “Explaining Nazism: Ethics, Beliefs, and Interests” in Modern Intellectual History, which was forthcoming at the time of his tenure. Professor Pendas is the recipient of several awards including the 2000 Ignacio Martin-Baro Human Rights Essay Prize for “‘Law, not Vengeance’: Human Rights, the Rule of Law and the Claims of Memory in German Holocaust Trials” and the MacArthur Dissertation Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Studies in International Peace and Cooperation.

Fellowship Research

While in residence at the Center, Professor Pendas studied the Nazi trials that took place in the German courts of the four occupation zones in the late 1940s. He examined Allied policy making, German policy responses, the conduct of the actual trials, and the public response to these trials. His research shed light on this transitional period in German history and the role of German trials against Nazis in developing the new democratic and socialistic societies of West Germany and East Germany, respectively.

Professor Pendas was in residence at the Mandel Center from October 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.