Published On: Fri, Jun 15th, 2012

Records of Nuremberg Trials Located at Boca’s Lynn University

By Diane Feen

One thing about history is that it gives us a chance to contemplate what could have been. Our memories are malleable but the facts remain etched in history (and in books that document that history).

One of the most horrific of historic facts is that the Holocaust did happen. But what people may not know is that some of the Nazis involved in the genocide of 6 million Jews were tried in what has been called The Nuremberg Trials.

In a twist of fate – or rather a found legacy – the records of these trials were recently found at Lynn University. And it was Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman of Temple Beth El who found out that these books were about to be disposed of.  So she did what any devoted historian, teacher and scholar might do – she saved them and then savored the chance to shine a light on what they might teach us today.

She also found a way to combine the present with the past by creating a luncheon and discussion at Temple Beth El called the “Project Nuremberg Book of Law Lawyers Luncheon.” The event, attended by 220 lawyers, law students and some members, was a discussion of the newfound Blue Series, which are records of the Nazi trials at Nuremberg after World War II.

The event was also a way to reflect on the retribution against Nazi war criminals and to discuss if the Nuremberg Trials was the best approach.

What made this sold-out affair so significant was that the Temple partnered with Stuart Z. Grossman (of Grossman Roth P.A.) to discuss lingering questions people have about the famous trials and their impact in the eyes of attorneys. The panel was moderated Dr. James W. Nickel, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law (and a human rights expert), and panelists included David Buckner, of Grossman Roth P.A. and Edward Shohat of the Law offices of Bierman Shohat Loewy & Klein P.A.

Everyone had a chuckle when Rabbi Brockman said it was quite novel that so many lawyers were in Temple on a Friday afternoon and it was not Yom Kippur. “The Books were sitting in a room at Lynn University just collecting dust, they almost threw them away so we partnered with them to present Project Nuremberg,” said Rabbi Brockman.

What also made this event so auspicious is that it coincided with Temple Beth El’s Torah Project (which was the writing of a new Torah). This enabled any lawyer who attended the event a chance to write a letter in the Torah. The luncheon and discussion raised just under $50,000 for the Torah Project. The Book of Leviticus – The Torah’s Book of Law – was also dedicated to the lawyers of Boca Raton.

It seems that Rabbi Brockman has a knack (and a nose for ingenious events) throughout the community. “I’m going to install a seat belt in my office. When Rabbi Jessica comes into my office with an idea it usually involves 200 people doing 200 different things. Rabbi Brockman is an extraordinary leader, she builds relationships with the community,” said the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El, Dan Levin.

“There are times when the Jewish people suffered beyond comprehension and what brings God back is the rule of law. To live by it and to pursue it with justice and fervor makes the world a better place. Each human life is of infinite value,” said Dr. Nickel.

David Buckner raised the point that the trials were an attempt to bring about consequences and to be a deterrent to this type of wrongdoing in the future. “It is not like we are better people; we have a better court system of justice.”

Ed Shohat also spoke prolifically about the defense and reasoning of both sides of this excruciating turn of events. “Crimes against humanity bring us to our emotional height and endure for us a special place. We have not been able to solve the atrocities against human beings, but the Nuremberg Trials teach the world that crimes against human beings will be dealt with.”

Rabbi Brockman, the eternal scholar of human behavior and human nature had this to say at the end. “Something greater and bigger than us allows us to use our power to bring justice to the world.”

It seems that for this one particular day – justice was served (alongside salmon, tuna salad and tempting desserts).

To find out more about Temple Beth El and the Torah Project contact them at 561-391-8900 or http://www.tbeboca.org.


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