The Crime of Complicity: the Bystander in the Holocaust

The Crime of Complicity: the Bystander in the Holocaust

by Amos N. Guiora
The Crime of Complicity: the Bystander in the Holocaust

The Crime of Complicity: the Bystander in the Holocaust

by Amos N. Guiora


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If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should intervention to prevent that crime be a legal obligation? Or is moral responsibility enough?

In The Crime of Complicity, Amos N. Guiora addresses these profoundly important questions and the bystander-victim relationship from a deeply personal and legal perspective, focusing on the Holocaust and then exploring cases in contemporary society. Sharing the experiences of his parents, who were Holocaust survivors, and his grandparents, who did not survive, and drawing on a wide range of historical material and interviews, Guiora examines the bystander during three distinct events: death marches, the German occupation of Holland, and the German occupation of Hungary. He explains that while the Third Reich created policy, its implementation was dependent on bystander non-intervention.

Bringing the issue of intervention into current perspective, he examines sexual assault cases at Vanderbilt and Stanford Universityies, as well as other crimes where bystanders chose whether or not to intervene, and the resulting consequences.

After examining the intensely personal example of his own parents’ survival of the Holocaust, Guiora asserts that a society cannot rely on morals and compassion alone in determining our obligation to help another in danger. It is ultimately, he concludes, a legal issue.

Should we make the obligation to intervene the law, and thus non-intervention a crime?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634257312
Publisher: American Bar Association
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Author bio: Amos N. Guiora is Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the University of Utah and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) in the Israel Defense Force. He is actively involved in the effort to legislate Holocaust-Genocide education in Utah public schools. He is the author of several books, including Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security (2009) and Tolerating Intolerance: The Price of Protecting Extremism (2014).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Where I Come From-Who I Am 11

2 My Family 37

3 Historical Background 53

4 Death Marches, Holland, and Hungary 65

5 The Bystander and the Victim 85

6 The Crime of Complicity 105

7 Duty Owed is a Legal Obligation-The Bystander's Legal Obligation 121

8 Maastricht, The Netherlands: Summer 2016 141

9 Hungary: The Ultimate Bystander? 165

10 Moving Forward: The Bystander as Crime 181

11 Where Do We Go From Here? 195

Afterword 199

Appendix 207

Index 209

Book Club Questions 219

What People are Saying About This

Paul Cliteur

It is very difficult to find the right words to describe the horror portrayed in this book. But Amos Guiora has done this, and he has done this very well. Highly recommended. -Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence, Leiden University and author of The Fall and Rise of Blasphemy Law

Rev. Dr. John C. Lentz Jr.

The Crime of Complicity is a multi-layered work. It combines personal memoir, historical research, legal opinion, and a moral ethical challenge. In this time of renewed hate speech, intolerance, bullying, and profiling, Amos N. Guiora's book is a hard read but it brings us face-to-face with an issue we cannot ignore except at our peril. -Rev. Dr. John C. Lentz, Jr., Senior Pastor, Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian, Cleveland

Tom Zwart

This impressive book is a powerful mix of personal engagement and professional scholarship. Although the injustice done to the Jews during WWII was indescribable, Amos Guiora succeeds in putting it into words. In a book which many will find difficult to put down, he describes how good-willing people suffered from the complicity of bystanders. Through his attractive journalistic style he very well succeeds in bringing these people, most of whom are members of his own family, to life. Understandably, Guiora must have been close to throwing in the towel a few times. By not giving in to that temptation he did his readers and history writing a huge favour. -Tom Zwart, Professor of Human Rights, Utrecht University

Avner de Shalit

Some books you enjoy; with some you are impressed. But this book will change the way you think about life, no less. From the surprising, sincere and personal opening, through the disturbing interviews with bystanders and survivors, to the profound philosophical reflections, Amos Guiora intertwines the personal with the objective, the emotive with the scientific in a most thought-provoking manner. -Avner de Shalit, Max Kampelman Professor of Democracy and Human Rights, Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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