East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity" by Philippe Sands

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Read East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity" Online Free - A profound and profoundly important book—a moving personal detective story, an uncovering of secret pasts, and a book that explores the creation and development of world-changing legal concepts that came about as a result of the unprecedented atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich.

East West Street looks at the personal and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity,” both of whom, not knowing the other, studied at the same university with the same professors, in a city little known today that was a major cultural center of Europe, “the little Paris of Ukraine,” a city variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv.

It begins in 2010 and moves backward and forward in time, from the present day to twentieth-century Poland, France, Germany, England, and America, ending in the courtroom of the Palace of Justice at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg in 1945.
The book opens with the author being invited to give a lecture on genocide and crimes against humanity at Lviv University, welcomed as the first international law academic to give a lecture there on such subjects in fifty years. Sands accepted the invitation with the intent of learning about the extraordinary city with its rich cultural and intellectual life, home to his maternal grandfather, a Galician Jew who had been born there a century before and who’d moved to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War, married, had a child (the author’s mother), and who then had moved to Paris after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. It was a life that had been shrouded in secrecy, with many questions not to be asked and fewer answers offered if they were.
As the author uncovered, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather’s mysterious life and of his flight first to Vienna and then to Paris, and of his mother’s journey as a child surviving Nazi occupation, Sands searched further into the history of the city of Lemberg and realized that his own field of humanitarian law had been forged by two men—Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht—each of whom had studied law at Lviv University in the city of his grandfather’s birth, each of whom had come to be considered the finest international legal mind of the twentieth century, each considered to be the father of the modern human rights movement, and each, at parallel times, forging diametrically opposite, revolutionary concepts of humanitarian law that had changed the world.
In this extraordinary and resonant book, Sands looks at who these two very private men were, and at how and why, coming from similar Jewish backgrounds and the same city, studying at the same university, each developed the theory he did, showing how each man dedicated this period of his life to having his legal concept—“genocide” and “crimes against humanity”—as a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. 
And the author writes of a third man, Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer, a Nazi from the earliest days who had destroyed so many lives, friend of Richard Strauss, collector of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. Frank oversaw the ghetto in Lemberg in Poland in August 1942, in which the entire large Jewish population of the area had been confined on penalty of death. Frank, who was instrumental in the construction of concentration camps nearby and, weeks after becoming governor general of Nazi-occupied Poland, ordered the transfer of 133,000 men, women, and children to the death camps.
Sands brilliantly writes of how all three men came together, in October 1945 in Nuremberg—Rafael Lemkin; Hersch Lauterpacht; and in the dock at the Palace of Justice, with the twenty other defendants of the Nazi high command, prisoner number 7, Hans Frank, who had overseen the extermination of more than a million Jews of Galicia and Lemberg, among them, the families of the author’s grandfather as well as those of Lemkin and Lauterpacht. 
A book that changes the way we look at the world, at our understanding of history and how civilization has tried to cope with mass murder. Powerful; moving; tender; a revelation.

Title : East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity"
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0385350716
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 pages


BlackOxford rated it ★★★★★

January 09, 2018

Unnatural Law Philippe Sands offers a new theory of law packaged in a new literary genre in East West Street. Call them both 'phenomenological' or, perhaps less pretentiously, 'unnatural' because neither conforms with traditional presumptions in the law or literature. Both the theory and the genre...

Susan rated it ★★★★★

March 19, 2016

In this book , author Phillippe Sands looks back to the city of Lviv, known as Lemberg (as well as many other names) and located variously in the Austro Hungarian Empire, Poland, occupied by the Soviets and, after 1944, part of Ukraine. Lviv, or Lemberg, was home to three men before the Second Wo...

Emma rated it ★★★★☆

May 18, 2016

Part historical inquiry, part family history, this book is a fascinating exploration of the lives of three men against the backdrop of one of the most horrifying periods in human history. The level of research Sands has put into this book is unquestionable, using a wealth of varied evidence, incl...

Paul rated it ★★★★★

November 09, 2016

Back in 2010 the barrister Philippe Sands was asked to give a lecture at Lviv University in Ukraine on the subjects of genocide and crimes against humanity. This gave him the opportunity to visit the city, and maybe discover more about his maternal grandfather, a man who he knew so little about....

Богдана rated it ★★★★★

December 03, 2017

Про цю книжку хочеться говорити дуже багато, але я лише зацитую Герша Лаутерпахта: «Окрема людська істота є основною одиницею усього права» Філіп Сендс відкриває дуже приватні людські історії, які стоять за абстрактним застосуванням абстрактних правових норм. У ситуації Нюрнбернзького трибуналу це...

Marks54 rated it ★★★★★

August 13, 2016

I was totally unprepared for how good a book this was. Let me try to explain. At one level, this is an intellectual history of the evolution of two concepts central to international law since World War II and the Holocaust and still relevant today in the consideration of human rights abuses in con...

Lyn rated it ★★★★★

January 17, 2018

The opening quote is from Joseph Roth’s The Wandering Jews (1927): The little town lies in the middle of a great plain… It begins with little huts and ends with them. After a while the huts are replaced by houses. Streets begin. One runs from north to south, the other from east to west. The east-w...

Manchester Military History Society (MMHS) rated it ★★★★☆

June 21, 2016

Part family history, part legal history. Dominic Sands is a human rights and his family history links him with the holocaust and two key characters behind the war crimes trial at Nuremberg and the legal precedents set subsequently. Sands’ exploration of his family history is the most compelling pa...

MissSugarTown rated it ★★★★★

December 03, 2017

Très très instructif pour ma part, je ne l'oublierai pas de si tôt. Il devient une de mes références.

Paul rated it ★★★★★

May 31, 2016

East West Street – A Profoundly Personal Story On the 13th April 1940 in Skałat, my Great Grandmother was arrested by officers of the NKVD for the given reason her husband was a Police Officer in the border town of Podwołoczyska to the right of the river Zbruch and her son was in the Polish Army f...

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