From Humiliation to Humanity

Rescuing Helen Goldmann’s Testimony from the Forensic Strictures of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial

  • Andrew Clark Wisely Baylor University
Keywords: Baeyer, Walter Ritter von (1904-1987), Bonhoeffer, Emmi (1905-1991), Goldmann, Helen (b. 1925), Lucas, Franz Bernhard (1911-1994), Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial (1963-65), eyewitness testimony


On 3 September 1964, during the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial, Helen Goldman accused SS camp doctor Franz Lucas of selecting her mother and siblings for the gas chamber when the family arrived at Birkenau in May 1944. Although she could identify Lucas, the court considered her information under cross-examination too inconsistent to build a case against Lucas. To appreciate Goldman’s authority, we must remove her from the humiliation of the West German legal gaze and inquire instead how she is seen through the lens of witness hospitality (directly by Emmi Bonhoeffer) and psychiatric assessment (indirectly by Dr Walter von Baeyer).

Author Biography

Andrew Clark Wisely, Baylor University

Andrew Wisely is Associate Professor of German at Baylor University, teaching all levels of German language and culture. Research interests include medical discourses and ethics, testimony, postwar justice, perpetrator rhetoric, and trauma. He has pub- lished articles in Central European History (2019), Holocaust Studies (2020), and a book chapter in Recognizing the Past in the Present. New Studies on Medicine Before, During, and After the Holocaust (2020).

How to Cite
Wisely, Andrew. 2021. “From Humiliation to Humanity”. S: I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation. 8 (1), 4-35.