For example, situating into French History Jeunet's earlier films, Delicatessen and La Cite des enfants perdus, allows Ezra to present some convincing correlations between film narratives and their contemporaneous contexts, evoking the Klaus Barbie trial
, the French colonial project, and the conflict in Algeria.
The passage from our book that Coughlin mis-cites is clearly an imputation to a generation of French lawyers, politicians, and culture leaders; we do this imputing at the end of a dense four-page paraphrase of Binder's famous article about the Barbie trial.(47) Anyone who had read this passage in the book would have discovered the quoted phrase only at the end of the passage, and so would fully understand the context in which it occurs.
In his treatment of the Barbie trial, Binder illustrates how symbolic and expressive elements can predominate over instrumental concerns in a war crimes trial.
And the relevant passage from our book (paraphrasing Binder's original) states: Although represented by different parties at the Barbie trial, the identity crises of Judaism and of the French left are outgrowths of a common culture of despair that paralyzes moral choice in the wake of Nazi atrocities.
Does the category possess an independent existence?(62) At Nuremberg, Julius Streicher was tried exclusively on this ground, and even then it was made clear that crimes against humanity could be carried out only in the context of an aggressive war.(63) Yet, in the Eichmann trial, it was suggested that this link was not necessary to sustain a conviction on the count of crimes against humanity.(64) Meanwhile, in the Barbie trial, the defendant himself, in a rare outburst, accused the Tribunal of blurring the distinction between war crimes and crimes against humanity.(65)
In her introduction to Alain Finkielkraut's book on the Barbie trial, Remembering in Vain, Alice Kaplan describes the trial as a "pedagogical event,"(104) which she claims "resuscitated history and made it into a current event."(105) Finkielkraut himself remarks that the "historical present [was] transmuted into a judicial present."(106) This indeed is a continual and relentless theme of all war crimes commentary and rhetoric.
The trial was important not just for France as a possible legitimation tool, but also for Israel.(135) The Israeli Ambassador to France, Ovidiah Sofer, did not miss the opportunity to recall Ben-Gurion when he said on the steps of the courthouse, "`terrorists are today's Nazis and S.S.'"(136) In a wonderfully iconoclastic assessment of the Barbie trial, Guyora Binder shows how these various strategies were not only at odds with each other but also came into conflict with the Jewish narrative of their role in the Barbie saga.(137)
Similarly, a message of the Barbie trial is that torture in Algeria is not a war crime or that Vichy France was not as anti-semitic as Nazi Germany.(140) The Australian legislation central to Polyukhhovich excludes Indonesian brutalities in East Timor(141) from its definition of war crimes.(142) The singular nature of Calley implies that U.S.
See also ALAIN FINKIELKRAUT, REMEMBERING IN VAIN: THE KLAUS BARBIE TRIAL AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 37 (Roxanne Lapidus & Sima Godfrey trans., 1992) ("[W]hat remains from World War II is a word: Nazi.
(172) In the words of Jacques Verges, speaking to the court in the Barbie trial, "'You are not here to condemn an ideology.