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9781474601917: East West Street: Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize
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Prologue
An Invitation
Tuesday, October 1, 1946,
Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice
 
A little after three o’clock in the afternoon, the wooden door behind the defendant’s dock slid open and Hans Frank entered court- room 600. He wore a gray suit, a shade that was offset by the white helmets worn by the two somber-faced military guards, his escorts. The hearings had taken a toll on the man who had been Adolf Hitler’s personal lawyer and then personal representative in German-occupied Poland, with his pink cheeks, sharp little nose, and sleeked-back hair. Frank was no longer the slender and swank minister celebrated by his friend Richard Strauss. Indeed, he was in a considerable state of perturbation, so much so that as he entered the room, he turned and faced the wrong direction, showing his back to the judges.

Sitting in the packed courtroom that day was the professor of international law at Cambridge University. Balding and bespectacled, Hersch Lauterpacht perched at the end of a long wooden table, round as an owl, flanked by distinguished colleagues on the British prosecution team. Seated no more than a few feet from Frank, in a trademark black suit, Lauterpacht was the one who came up with the idea of putting the term “crimes against humanity” into the Nuremberg statute, three words to describe the murder of four million Jews and Poles on the territory of Poland. Lauterpacht would come to be recognized as the finest international legal mind of the twen- tieth century and a father of the modern human rights movement, yet his interest in Frank was not just professional. For five years, Frank had been governor of a territory that included the city of Lemberg, where Lauterpacht had a large family, including his parents, a brother and sister, their children. When the trial had opened a year earlier, their fate in the kingdom of Hans Frank was unknown.

Another man with an interest in the trial was not there that day. Rafael Lemkin listened to the judgment on a wireless, from a bed in an American military hospital in Paris. A public prosecutor and then a lawyer in Warsaw, he fled Poland in 1939, when the war broke out, and eventually reached America. There he worked with the trial’s American prosecution team, alongside the British. On that long journey, he carried a number of valises, each crammed with documents, among them many decrees signed by Frank. In studying these materials, Lemkin found a pattern of behavior, to which he gave a label, to describe the crime with which Frank could be charged. He called it “genocide.” Unlike Lauterpacht, with his focus on crimes against humanity, which aimed at the protection of individuals, he was more concerned with the protection of groups. He had worked tirelessly to get the crime of genocide into Frank’s trial, but on this last day of the trial he was too unwell to attend. He too had a personal interest in Frank: he had spent years in Lwów, and his parents and brother were caught up in the crimes said to have been committed on Frank’s territory.

“Defendant Hans Frank,” the president of the tribunal announced. Frank was about to learn whether he would still be alive at Christmas, in a position to honor the promise he had recently made to his seven-year-old son, that all was fine and he would be home for the holiday.
 
Thursday, October 16, 2014,
Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice
 
Sixty-eight years later I visited courtroom 600 in the company of Hans Frank’s son Niklas, who was a small boy when that promise was made.

Niklas and I began our visit in the desolate, empty wing of the disused prison at the rear of the Palace of Justice, the only one of the four wings that still stood. We sat together in a small cell, like the one in which his father spent the better part of a year. The last time Niklas had been in this part of the building was in September 1946. “It’s the only room in the world where I am a little bit nearer to my father,” he told me, “sitting here and thinking of being him, for about a year being in here, with an open toilet and a small table and a small bed and nothing else.” The cell was unforgiving, and so was Niklas on the subject of his father’s actions. “My father was a lawyer; he knew what he did.”

Courtroom 600, still a working courtroom, was not greatly changed since the time of the trial. Back in 1946, the route from the cells required each of the twenty-one defendants to travel up a small elevator that led directly to the courtroom, a contraption that Niklas and I were keen to see. It remained, behind the dock at which the defendants sat, entered through the same wooden door, which slid open as noiselessly as ever. “Open, shut, open, shut,” wrote R. W. Cooper of The Times of London, the former lawn tennis correspondent who reported each day on the trial. Niklas slid the door open and entered the small space, then closed the door behind him.

When he came back out, he made his way to the place where his father sat during the trial, charged with crimes against humanity and genocide. Niklas sat down and leaned forward on the wooden rail. He looked at me, then around the room, and then he sighed. I had often wondered about the last time his father passed through the elevator’s sliding door and made his way to the defendant’s dock. It was something to be imagined and not seen, because cameras were not allowed to film the last afternoon of the trial, on Tuesday, October 1, 1946. This was done to protect the dignity of the defendants.

Niklas interrupted my thoughts. He spoke gently and firmly. “This is a happy room, for me, and for the world.”

From the book EAST WEST STREET by Philippe Sands, copyright © 2016 by Philippe Sands. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Revue de presse :
A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision (John le Carré)

Supremely gripping. Sands has produced something extraordinary. Written with novelistic skill, its prose effortlessly poised, its tone perfectly judged, his book teems with life, from the bustling streets of Habsburg Lviv to the high drama of the Nuremberg trials. One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable (Dominic Sandbrook SUNDAY TIMES)

Important and engrossing. . . even when charting the complexities of law, Sands's writing has the intrigue, verve and material density of a first-rate thriller. . . He can magic whole histories of wartime heroism out of addresses eight decades old. Or, chasing the lead of a faded photograph, he can unearth possible alternate grandparents and illicit liaisons to be verified only by DNA tests. . . an exceptional memoir (Lisa Appignanesi OBSERVER)

Engrossing ... Sands has written a remarkable and enjoyable book, deftly weaving his own family history into a lively account of the travails of the early campaigners for international human rights law (Caroline Moorhead LITERARY REVIEW)

A magnificent book. A work of great brilliance. There is narrative sweep and intellectual grip. Everything that happens is inevitable and yet comes as a surprise. I was moved to anger and to pity. In places I gasped, in places I wept. I wanted to reach the end. I couldn't wait to reach the end. And then when I got there I didn't want to be at the end (Daniel Finkelstein THE TIMES)

A fascinating and revealing book, for the things it explains: the origins of laws that changed our world, no less. It's also a readable book, and thoughtful, and compassionate. Most fundamentally, though, it's a book that tells a few individual human stories that lie behind the world-changing ones. That storytelling isn't redemptive - what could be, in this context? - but it confronts all those silences and challenges them. That challenge makes it an important book too (Daniel Hahn THE SPECTATOR)

A vivid and readable contribution, part memoir, part documentary, to the history debate ... Much of the most compelling material in this book is personal ... Moving and powerful (Mark Mazower FINANCIAL TIMES)

Outstanding ... This is the best kind of intellectual history. Sands puts the ideas of Lemkin and Lauterpacht in context and shows how they still resonate today, influencing Tony Blair, David Cameron and Barack Obama. When we think of the atrocities committed by Slobodan Milosevic or Bashar al-Assad, it is the ideas of these two Jewish refugees we turn to. Sands shows us in a clear, astonishing story where they came from (David Herman NEW STATESMAN)

In a triumph of astonishing research, Sands has brilliantly woven together several family stories which lead to the great denouement at the Nuremberg tribunal. No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth (Antony Beevor)

A book like no other I have ever read - unputdownable and unforgettable (Orlando Figes)

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  • ÉditeurW&N
  • Date d'édition2017
  • ISBN 10 147460191X
  • ISBN 13 9781474601917
  • ReliureBroché
  • Nombre de pages496
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  • 9780385350716: East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity"

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Description du livre Paperback. Etat : new. Paperback. THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE and THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZETHE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER'A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision' John le Carre'One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable' SUNDAY TIMESWhen he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial. Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors (Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) who invented the crimes or genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi governor responsible for the murder of thousands in and around Lviv (Hans Frank), and incredible acts of wartime bravery, EAST WEST STREET is an unforgettable blend of memoir and historical detective story, and a powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations.WINNER OF THE HAY FESTIVAL MEDAL FOR PROSE 2017 A uniquely personal exploration of the origins of international law, centring on the Nuremberg Trials, the city of Lviv and a secret family history Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. N° de réf. du vendeur 9781474601917

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