Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2012 - 7/31/2012

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Israel's Social Integration and Legal Prosecution of Jews Who Aided Nazis (1950-1972)

FAIN: FT-59463-12

Dan Porat
Hebrew University (Jerusalem 9346510 Israel)

A common view holds that only two Holocaust trials took place in Israel: those of Kastner and Eichmann. Yet, in the years 1950-1972 Israel's attorney general filed charges against more than thirty Jewish Nazi-collaborators. The proposed study will ask what can these trials teach us about the post-Holocaust view of collaborators and the image of the "victim?" Through a discussion of a set of post-Holocaust trials of Jews who, willingly or unwillingly, collaborated with the Nazis this study will question the image of 'the victims.' The study will demonstrate the historical shift in the image of the victims from a view of the victims as one who initially were viewed as a group who had brought the catastrophe on themselves to an image of victims which had no role in the killings. I will argue that as a result of the Eichmann trial the image of the Jewish collaborators with the Nazis as 'victim-perpetrator' had been occluded and an image of 'pure victims' emerged'

Media Coverage

Review: Bitter Reckoning (Review)
Author(s): Charles Weinblatt
Publication: New York Journal of Books
Date: 12/9/2019

Kapos (Media Coverage)
Publication: Tablet Magazine
Date: 11/14/2019

Bitter Reckoning: Israel Tries Holocaust Survivors as Nazi Collaborators, by Dan Porat (Review)
Publication: Time of London Higher Education
Date: 12/5/2019
Abstract: Giulia Miller is intrigued by a little-known episode in early Israeli history

Associated Products

The Changing Perception of ‘Collaboration’ in the Nazi Collaborator Trials in Israel (1950-1964) (Article)
Title: The Changing Perception of ‘Collaboration’ in the Nazi Collaborator Trials in Israel (1950-1964)
Author: Dan Porat
Abstract: Between 1950 and 1964 the State of Israel prosecuted more than forty Holocaust survivors accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. This article follows the legislation of Nazi and Nazi Collaborator Punishment Law (1950) that served the basis for the trials. Next it follows different trials and their development.
Year: 2015
Primary URL:
Format: Other
Publisher: Wayne University Press

Bitter Reckoning: Israel Tries Holocaust Survivors as Nazi Collaborators (Book)
Title: Bitter Reckoning: Israel Tries Holocaust Survivors as Nazi Collaborators
Author: Dan Porat
Abstract: Beginning in 1950, the state of Israel prosecuted and jailed dozens of Holocaust survivors who had served as camp kapos or ghetto police under the Nazis. At last comes the first full account of the kapo trials, based on records newly declassified after forty years. In December 1945, a Polish-born commuter on a Tel Aviv bus recognized a fellow rider as the former head of a town council the Nazis had established to manage the Jews. When he denounced the man as a collaborator, the rider leaped off the bus, pursued by passengers intent on beating him to death. Five years later, to address ongoing tensions within Holocaust survivor communities, the State of Israel instituted the criminal prosecution of Jews who had served as ghetto administrators or kapos in concentration camps. Dan Porat brings to light more than three dozen little-known trials, held over the following two decades, of survivors charged with Nazi collaboration. Scouring police investigation files and trial records, he found accounts of Jewish policemen and camp functionaries who harassed, beat, robbed, and even murdered their brethren. But as the trials exposed the tragic experiences of the kapos, over time the courts and the public shifted from seeing them as evil collaborators to victims themselves, and the fervor to prosecute them abated. Porat shows how these trials changed Israel’s understanding of the Holocaust and explore how the suppression of the trial records―long classified by the state―affected history and memory. Sensitive to the devastating options confronting those who chose to collaborate, yet rigorous in its analysis, Bitter Reckoning invites us to rethink our ideas of complicity and justice and to consider what it means to be a victim in extraordinary circumstances.
Year: 2019
Publisher: Harvard University Press/Belknap Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0674988140
Copy sent to NEH?: No

How Israel's Justice System Dealt with Jewish Collaborators (Article)
Title: How Israel's Justice System Dealt with Jewish Collaborators
Author: Dan Porat
Abstract: How Israel’s Justice System Dealt With Alleged Jewish Collaborators in Concentration Camps—And Why That Still Matters Today
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Format: Magazine
Publisher: Time Magazine