HolocaustThe Nation of Germany should be assessed damages and reparations made to survivors and or their heirs for the Nazi crimes which included, property theft, wrongful injury and wrongful death. The monetary compensation will never heal the wounds inflicted by the depraved actions of the Nazi on their fellow man. The mere claim that not all Germans participated willingly should not be a viable defense for their liability. Does the concept that the nation should pay for the pain and suffering a few caused seem foreign? Our present day judicial system invokes punitive and actual damages in comparable situations and it should access damages against Germany.
Ford Motor Corporation made a choice to leave their Pinto vulnerable to explosion and fire in a certain type of rear end collision. This conscious decision was made after risk assessment and cost analysis were conducted. The managers concluded that it would be cheaper to settle the lawsuits than reengineer the vehicle. Not every employee of Ford nor every stockholder participated in the decision. Nevertheless, the company as a whole was responsible. The fateful decision to place their cost base ahead of human life was considerably more expensive than they estimated. Numerous people lost their life to Ford’s profits before the problem was rectified. Even in this modern example, the human life was not spared until the courts assessed damages for the deaths caused by Ford.
The German population has criminal guilt because of a number of reasons. Hitler was a freely elected leader promising to restore Germany to the greatness it enjoyed prior to World War One. Hitler and his henchmen could not have achieved their repugnant goals for the Master Race without the support of the German public. The social contract between Hitler and the German people that empowered him to rule also transferred vicarious liability to the population. The United Nations Convention on the Crime of Genocide concluded that complicity in genocide was a prosecutable criminal act. The general population of Germany should bear the consequences for their actions or lack of action in empowering Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. The accomplishments of Oskar Schindler bear witness that some actions could have been preformed to circumvent the Nazi’s insatiable desire to exterminate the non-Aryans. It can be argued that because of intimidation the Germans did not act. The duress defense has not been very successful in criminal trials. Even under the threat of torture and death, a resistive population would have produced more martyrs attempting to circumvent the reprehensible actions of the S.S. and the Third Reich’s depraved leaders.
The World Court and our judicial system are both founded on many of the same fundamental principles. There may be a question in a potential jurors mind if the general population of Germany truly were involved in the commission of the criminal acts of genocide and therefore are responsible for reparations to their victims. The burden of proof is much higher for conviction of a criminal offense. The prosecution would have to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the Germans were guilty. To assess civil liability the burden of proof is merely more likely than not. An example of an individual found not guilty but being liable for wrongful death damages has been recently and vividly presented to us by the news media. O.J. Simpson was not convicted for the murders of Nichole Simpson and Ron Brown but in a civil suit filed by the bereaved parents of Ron Brown, he was found liable for their death and damages assessed. According to Bruce Ottley, Associate Dean of the Depaul University Law School, the average award for wrongful death is 3.5 to 6 million dollars. This could easily lead to an award of $ 33 trillion dollars, and that is only for the actual people killed. As large as that number is it still does not account for pain suffering, injuries, stolen art, and gold. Considering that the Nazis would open the deceased’s mouth and pry out any gold dental work before burning the body, restitution for this stolen gold seems justified. It is estimated that between the banks, personal ownership, and dental gold the Nazis stole over $5.6 billion dollars at today’s gold value. An award of $33 trillion dollars pales when compared to the wholesale abuse of humanity the Nazis engineered
In the history of humanity, our cruelty to our fellow man has been demonstrated many times. Terms like the spoils of war are used without negative connotations for the looting the Romans committed. The enlightened philosophers that originated our system of governmental values clearly meant only to bestow rights to their contemporaries. No consideration was given to women or African slaves. There are even Biblical references to the victims of the holocaust, the Jews, indiscriminately slaying men, women, children, and even the animals when entering Canaan in the Book of Joshua. Since the first time man killed his brother to modern times, we have been ruthless with our brothers and neighbors. Do we have to continue being barbaric merely because society in the past was? The rise of modern times lead to huge advances in science and medicine. If we do not make similar advances in our human sprit, we are not much more than primitives with larger and better clubs. Our values should evolve as our technology does. During the Renaissance with merely a 10x power telescope Galileo changed the way we view the universe. Now hundreds of years later, we can use the Hubble Telescope to look at the fringes of space and time. In our ever-shrinking global community, shouldn’t we desire justice? Shouldn’t we demand our fellow cultures to cease following in the footsteps of barbarism? Merely because hate, torture, and murder were once practiced is not justification to continue. A judgment for the survivors will announce that the world has evolved, and persecution, torture, and murder of our fellow inhabitants will not be tolerated.