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Law after Auschwitz : Towards a jurisprudence of the Holocaust, by David Fraser

O'Donnell, Therese (2005) Law after Auschwitz : Towards a jurisprudence of the Holocaust, by David Fraser. [Review]

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Abstract

David Fraser’s thesis, in LAW AFTER AUSCHWITZ, is that there is little to distinguish between our fundamental understandings and practices of law and those of German lawyers and judges between 1933 and 1945. He aims to refocus jurisprudential efforts in order to confront lawyers’ collective, institutional and professional participation in the Holocaust. Rather than seeing the Holocaust as an extraordinary moment where SS madness dominated, by surveying the legal establishment’s accommodation and application of discriminatory laws, Fraser sees the Holocaust as “the culmination of the acts of ordinary people in the ordinary course of events within ordinary governmental and legal structures”(p.5), using techniques no different to today’s. For him, Auschwitz was “law-ful/full,” and rather than the extraordinariness of the Holocaust making it difficult to be judged in a court room, its ordinariness – its ordinary lawfulness – causes difficulties for law.