Edward Alperowitsch was only 22 years old when he traveled to Nuremberg in 1948, ready to testify to the Nazi war crimes that had claimed most of his family. Instead, he was disqualified on procedural grounds. Yet, as George Anders writes, transcripts came to light of extensive pre-trial conversations Alperowitsch had had with the prosecution team — allowing father and son to revisit that time together, and perhaps to find some measure of closure.
It’s been nearly 75 years since my father traveled to Nuremberg, and there are times when he still regrets the legal fastidiousness that barred him from the witness stand. He wishes he could have testified, believing that some German generals’ complicity in the Holocaust would have earned much harsher punishment. Yet on a different level, Ed appreciates the Allies’ scrupulous adherence to the highest legal standards. Even today, Nuremberg is upheld as the model of how to run a war crimes trial. And the strength of the U.S. legal system—even when buffeted by the most odious pressures—is one of the things he cherishes as a naturalized American.