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Juger les crimes antisémites avant Nuremberg : l'expérience du Tribunal populaire en Bulgarie (novembre 1944-avril 1945)

Abstract : In November 1944, an amendment to the Decree-Law on the establishment of a People's Court to judge those responsible for the involvement of Bulgaria in the war extends the scope of the ordinance to the persecutions against the Jews. In doing so, Bulgaria was the first country in Europe to create a chamber dedicated solely to anti-Jewish crimes. Little known, the action of the Tribunal provides a window into the legal treatment of the Jewish genocide and, incidentally, into the relationship between the writing of history and judicial modes of establishing the truth. Considering the trials as forms of judgement cast on the immediate past, the article examines the magistrates’ attempts at formulating the exceptionality of the anti-Jewish persecutions in judicial terms. In 1944-1945, the stakes were obviously legal, since the judicial actors had to devise legal incriminations and strategies tailored to the unprecedented character of the crimes. They were also political and moral because of the historical nature of the trial. Against this background, the article highlights a twin paradox. First, in their effort to demonstrate the existence of "another Bulgaria," opposed to the "fascists" standing trial, the magistrates contributed to the emergence of a trope, which has until recently remained constitutive of Bulgarian public accounts of the Holocaust, that of the innocent Bulgarian (people). Second, the court – albeit created to demonstrate the uniqueness of anti-Jewish persecutions – ultimately participated in the euphemization of Jewish suffering by subsuming it into the wider antifascist narrative of victimhood.
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Submitted on : Saturday, February 12, 2022 - 10:30:13 AM
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Nadège Ragaru. Juger les crimes antisémites avant Nuremberg : l'expérience du Tribunal populaire en Bulgarie (novembre 1944-avril 1945). Histoire@Politique : revue du Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po, Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po, 2015. ⟨hal-03568076⟩

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