From the author of Hiding in the Spotlight, the story of the Kharkov trials, forgotten by history, which sought justice for the thousands killed the Ukraine, a place also overlooked in the annals of the Holocaust
When one thinks of the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz, Dachau; and when we think of justice for this terrible chapter in history, we think of Nuremberg. Not of Russia or the Ukraine, and certainly not of a city called Kharkov. But in reality, the first war-crimes trial against the Nazis was in this idyllic, peaceful Ukrainian city, which is fitting, because it is also where the Holocaust actually began.Eighteen months before the end of World War II—two full years before the opening statement by the prosecution at Nuremberg—three Nazi officers and a Ukrainian collaborator were tried and convicted of war crimes and hanged in Kharkov’s public square. The trial is symbolic of the larger omission of the Ukraine from the popular history of the Holocaust—another deep irony, as most of the first of the six million perished in the Ukraine long before Hitler and his lieutenant seven decided on the formalities of the Final Solution.