Cover Osteuropa 12/2010

In Osteuropa 12/2010

The Verdict of the People
The War Crimes Trial in Krasnodar in 1943

Tanja Penter

Deutsche Fassung


In July 1943, the first public war crimes trial of the Second World War took place. Before the court stood Soviet citizens accused of collaboration with the German occupiers and treason. The staged proceedings, which had a strong impact on the public, were exemplary. The Stalinist regime used these trials as a means of cultivating its international image and as a weapon against political opponents. At the same time, the court-room proceedings gave the local population room for the need to exact vengeance and to articulate wartime traumas. By attending to the “pressure from below” and by putting considerable emphasis on proper legal formalities, they legitimised the Stalinist justice system and contributed to the re-Stalinisation of society.

(Osteuropa 12/2010, pp. 117–132)