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Authors

Devin O. Pendas

Abstract

On December 20, 1963, the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial opened before the State Court (Schwurgericht) at Frankfurt am Main. Ginther Leicher, covering the trial for the Allgemeine Zeitung/Neuer Mainzer Anzeiger, described the scene thus: "A huge mass of journalists, photographers and camera people from all over the world and half-empty seats in the visitors' gallery: these are the contradictory emblems of the public interest in the Auschwitz trial, which opened last Friday, four days before Christmas, in the Frankfurt City Council chambers." In this Article, I examine the seeming paradox that the Auschwitz trial could attract such considerable attention from the mass media while remaining a matter of indifference, if not open hostility, for much of the German public. In other words, I ask what the relationship is between the Auschwitz trial as a trial, as a media event, and as a "moment" in the West German public sphere.

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