By William Sweet

A professor is writing about prosecutions of Nazi-era criminals, and about the case against the accused architect of the USS Cole bombing.
[Research] Thanks to fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Lawrence Douglas, the James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, has spent this academic year researching and writing a book on the trials of Nazi collaborator John Demjanjuk, as well as writing about the Guantanamo military commission case against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused architect of the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.

Lawrence Douglas

The ACLS senior fellowship—awarded to 60 scholars per year—allowed Douglas (left) to spend the fall traveling to Germany to research a book.

The book, to be published by Princeton University Press, will build upon a Harper’s article by Douglas about the 2011 trial of Demjanjuk, who was convicted on charges of participating in the murders of 27,900 Jews while serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

“This trial was called the last great Nazi-era atrocity trial,” says Douglas, who will use the facts of the Demjanjuk trial to examine, in his forthcoming book, the history of Germany’s postwar prosecutions of Nazis and their collaborators. Demjanjuk died in 2012 while appealing his conviction.

This spring Douglas headed to Washington, D.C., to spend the semester as the Ina Levine Invitational Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum—one of two invitational fellowships that the museum awards to scholars each year. There, he’s been writing his book and continuing his work on the Nashiri case. His article on the pre-trial phase of the Cole bombing case was the October 2013 cover story for Harper’s.

Photo by Rob Mattson