Man is by nature a social animal, since time immemorial he has strived towards a communal life and not towards isolation.
In communal cohabitation, mankind can satisfy its material, moral, ethical and other needs. Collective cohabitation limits man’s freedom.
In isolation, he creates forms of ethics and justice for his own benefit, and adjusts to them himself. The moment he decides to live in society he falls under certain restrictions, which oblige everyone. Without an organised group, whether it be family, society, or a state man cannot be in contradiction to the general laws, or live in opposition to them according to his own judgment; he must submit to the generally accepted norms for the good of the group. By breaking these rules, man finds himself in opposition to morality and experiences a reaction.
In any society where there is division of labor, there is also an institution which safeguards the legal implementation of these rules and which acts in the event that these laws are broken.
Naturally, among people with a higher culture the number of such violations is much lower than among those who are culturally inferior, and yet everywhere one must restrain the individual who goes against the community and regulate the conflicts that arise between individuals. Therefore the Jewish committee has rightly decided, during one of its meetings, to create a citizen’s court here in our camp, assuming that we are building a small society that is bound by common rules that can be broken by one of us, and in the wish that such situations should be handled by us, and not by strangers. It should be clear that this institution is not intended to spread fear, nor will it impose itself on anyone by force. It has merely been called to aid the committee in matters of order and justice in our camp.
The citizen’s court, in addition to the task of resolving conflicts, also has an educational purpose. In its judgments there are often indications how one can comport oneself properly and morally, by pointing out bad deeds it also points towards the correct path. We must admit that under the influence of demoralizing forces in the last world war, mankind has grown culturally and ethically backwards, especially the young, who have grown up without the appropriate educators in their formative years, find themselves in an impasse and do not know whom to turn to, or which paths to take. It happens that crimes can be committed by fundamentally good people, all because they have never received the proper education.
Our citizen’s court has no desire to punish or, as I have mentioned, spread fear. Its only desire is to resolve genuine conflict and, at the same time, draw attention to bad behavior so that deeds that are deemed harmful should not be repeated. This is the kind of guide that our citizen’s court should be, and that was the intention behind organizing this institution in our camp.
Adv. M. Tsukerfayn.
Judgement of camp-tribunal N. 1/46
September 6th, 1946, in camp "Hertsog" in the presence of the chairman, Tsukerfayn and co-chairs , Feld and Winter, in the matter of citizen Flayshheker, Jakov, 23 years old, born in Kielce province in the town of Otorow—accused, from the beginning of 1942 to the end of 1943 while working in camp Skarzysko-Kamienna as disinfector of the bath facilities, of having tormented the Jewish inmates and women in particular, beating them over the face and body, forcing them to undress in his presence, stealing valuables from newly arrived inmates and many other brutal acts. Acknowledging that the accusations against the accused are at least in part proven and ascertaining that his deeds warrant further investigation by the Jewish court, he has been sentenced to 3 months arrest, and immediate removal from the vicinity of the camp. A year after his sentencing, the accused will have the possibility of appealing to any Jewish court to have his crimes pardoned if he can prove that during the year, through his behavior and his work for the good of Jewish society he has earned recognition as a fully-fledged citizen. This judgement is to be published in all Jewish newspapers in the refugee camps. The sentence will soon be passed with no recourse to appeal.