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Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He has been involved in many of the most important international cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq and Guantanamo. His previous books include LAWLESS WORLD and TORTURE TEAM. He is a frequent contributor to the FINANCIAL TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS and VANITY FAIR, makes regular appearances on radio and television, and serves on the boards of English PEN and the Hay Festival.
Author photo © Antonio Zaueta Olmos
May 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. This immersive book works as both a personal and public examination of the legal attempts to hold Nazi warmongers to account at Nuremberg, some of the first stirrings of international law. We are introduced to two Nuremberg judges who, after the prosecution of Hans Frank, Hitler’s Governor General of Poland, found he might well have been responsible for the destruction of their people and homeland, circumstances Phillipe Sands finds echoed in his own personal story through his Mother’s family. Already a deserved multi-prize-winner, East West Street manages to thread together multiple strands into one truly compelling history. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like ReadingThe Nuremberg Interviews: Conversations with the Defendants and Witnesses, Leon GoldensohnBloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, Timothy Snyder
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION SHORTLISTED FOR THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY AWARD AND JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character. The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother's family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands' work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.
"e;Kein Roman kann sich mit einem solch wichtigen Werk der Wahrheit messen."e; Antony Beevor Als der bekannte Anwalt fur Menschenrechte Philippe Sands eine Einladung nach Lemberg erhalt, ahnt er noch nicht, dass dies der Anfang einer erstaunlichen Reise ist, die ihn um die halbe Welt fuhren wird. Er kommt einem bewegenden Familiengeheimnis auf die Spur, und stot auf die Geschichte zweier Manner, die angesichts der ungeheuren NS-Verbrechen alles daran setzten, diese juristisch zu fassen. Sie pragten die zentralen Begriffe, mit denen seitdem der Schrecken benannt und geahndet werden kann: "e;Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit"e; und "e;Genozid"e;. Meisterhaft verwebt Philippe Sands die Geschichte von Tatern und Anklagern, von Strafe und Volkerrecht zu einer kraftvollen Erzahlung daruber, wie Verbrechen und Schuld uber Generationen fortwirken. "e;Ein Buch wie kein anderes, das ich gelesen habe - man kann es nicht weglegen und vergessen."e; Orlando Figes "e;Uber die Geburtsstunde der internationalen Menschenrechte und zugleich ein zartes Familienportrat ... bewegend und fesselnd."e; Adam Thirlwell"e;Erstaunlich und wichtig."e; Louis Begley"e;Uberwaltigend, erschutternd ... Ruckkehr nach Lemberg ist eines der auergewohnlichsten Bucher, das ich je gelesen habe."e; Antonia Fraser"e;Ein schones und notwendiges Buch."e; A. L. Kennedy
When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials.Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trials, that the man they are prosecuting, once Hitler's personal lawyer, may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms crimes against humanity and genocide in the judgement at Nuremberg, with their different emphasis on the protection of individuals and groups. The defendant was no less compelling a character: Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer, friend of Richard Strauss, collector of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, and governor-general of Nazi-occupied Poland.A second strand to the book is more personal, as Sands traces the events that overwhelmed his mother's family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War and led his grandfather to leave his wife and daughter behind as war came to Europe. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands' work as a lawyer. Eventually he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime, and guilt leave scars across generations.