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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 12. September 19, 1945


Fears have often been expressed that all those suspected of having aided the Nazis will be indiscriminately punished. Such fears have not materialised, if we are to judge from the evidence thus far available, particularly in Italy, Belgium, and France. There have been very few cases in which suspects have been murdered without proof of their guilt, or innocent parties punished along with the guilty. Quite the contrary: it is now clear that fears of too great leniency toward the war criminals are more than justified. In Italy and in Belgium, as well as in France—though to a lesser degree—the present regimes have not treated the war criminals With a severity consonant with the people's sense of justice. In Belgium and above all in Italy the British military administrators have played an influential role in staying the hand of justice. Yet severity is politically necessary if these countries are to be purged of fascism.

Moreover, another dangerous phenomenon has come to pass: the "small fry" among the war criminals are more likely to be punished than the "big shots." In Italy and Belgium there were bankers, industrialists, and large landowners who were accomplices of Nazi Germany, who helped the Nazi war effort. Yet because of their social and business connections, they find it all too easy to get a hearing from the existing regimes and to win "international" sympathy. These tendencies represent a many-sided danger. They prevent the uprooting of fascism and the building of stable democracies.

Some will say that there is hardly any danger of a "soft" treatment when it comes to judging the German and Japanese war criminals. But this new book by Sheldon Glueck, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at Harvard University, should open everyone's eyes to the very real dangers that exist.*