14 September 2006 | maryszka
Fantastic study of the Americal legal system
Having been stationed at Tempelhof Central Airport in the 1980s, this movie had particular significance. The book is a difficult read--full of legal terminology and political machinations, but in short--the story of a Jewish judge, sent to Berlin not-so-many years after WWII to try East Germans for hijacking an aircraft to freedom in the West. The movie misses a lot of the subtleties, but is detailed enough to give a good picture of the political climate at the time. A federal prosecutor, Judge Stern was selected to head this trial after many other judges resisted taking on this political "hot potato". The theory is that a Jewish judge in post-war Germany would go along with what was originally envisioned as a sort of "sham" trial intended to lead directly to convictions. Stern insisted that the defendants receive, according to the American Constitution, a trial by a jury of their peers --fellow Germans. An interesting concept for our country, which offically occupied West Berlin until the 1990s. Could conquerors try the conquered in occupied territory with a jury of their (conquered) peers? For anyone who is cynical of our position in the world arena as the unofficial "watchdog" of freedoms, this is a wonderful drama showing that justice will, if given the chance, win out. Highly recommended for anyone interested in our legal system or our nation's post-WWII history.