“Unpopular Justice: Holocaust-related Trials in Slovak People’s Courts, 1945-1947”
Vanda Rajcan is currently Ph.D. Candidate in History at Northwestern University. Ms. Rajcan has held fellowships from several institutions, including the Institute of International Education (Fulbright Research Fellowship), Auschwitz Jewish Center, and Northwestern University. She has presented her research extensively across the United States and Europe. She is a native speaker of Slovak and Czech, is fluent in English, and has working knowledge of Spanish, German and Polish.
Prior to her tenure in Northwestern University’s graduate program, she co-authored the introduction for, as well as wrote several site entries, to the “Slovakia” section of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos Volume III. In addition, she published an article in Slovak and English about the postwar trial of former Slovak Head of XIV. Department (Jewish Affairs), Anton Vašek, as well as “I was Just an Ordinary Bureaucrat: Dr. Isidor Koso, Gejza Konka, and Július Pečúch on Trial.”
As the Gunzenberger-Reichman Family Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Ms. Rajcan will be working on her dissertation entitled, “Unpopular Justice: Holocaust-related Trials in Slovak People’s Courts, 1945-1947,” which investigates how the Slovak government used the retributive courts – a legal system established in 1945 to address crimes committed during World War II – to promote and legitimize postwar agendas. Drawing on postwar trial records, oral testimonies, and the International Tracing Service records (Arolsen Archives), she argues that Slovak courts (slovenské ľudové súdy) redefined the wartime state’s collaboration with Nazi Germany and revealed deeper political, social, and religious tensions in postwar (Czecho)Slovakia.