Irina Samborski

Document Type

Book Review


Law is commonly thought of as an antidote to genocide rather than its facilitator. In Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law, Professor Michael Bazyler of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law refutes the notion that the Holocaust was an extralegal event—instead, he isolates the law as the preferred instrument of wholesale murder and destruction. The book traces the long shadow that the Holocaust has cast on the contemporary corpus of international law and many legal systems across the world. While it tells the unfolding catastrophe of the Holocaust as a legal history, the book considers the legal triumphs that followed the catastrophe in their entire context. Specifically, the book explores the legal means that have been used in the last seventy years to redress historical wrongs, obtain justice for victims, and prevent future genocides. These legal means, which Bazyler labels as “Post-Holocaust law,” are shown to have developed in an organized fashion over time to become a discrete body of law. Between masterfully balancing the law’s ability to ruin with its capacity to redress, Bazyler clearly asserts one point: Post-Holocaust law does not yet fit the Post-Holocaust world.

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