How were kapos tried and treated after the war in "Night"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The kapos, or concentration camp inmates who collaborated with the SS in policing the camps in return for favors, were treated about the same as Nazi war criminals. Between 1951 and 1964, the new nation of Israel held what have come to be called the Kapol trials, in which former kapos were arrested and tried for war crimes.

However, judging whether a kapo was just as guilty as an SS guard was not easy. They were prisoners just like all the other Jews in the camps. One former kapo told the NY Times about a "trick" the guards played on him: ''They had him dig a grave and made him believe they were going to bury him alive in it. Then they all laughed and had him come out, and threw a dead German shepherd in the grave.''

In the same article (linked below), a former director of the Office of Speical Investigations is quoted as saying:

"Any inquiry like this, Jewish or German, comes down to whether someone took part in the persecution of innocent people willingly and voluntarily....It's just that with the kapos you have to add the additional layer of what the SS was doing over their shoulders. Were the kapos beating the inmates only enough to keep the SS from beating them even more brutally? Or were they persecuting them as badly or even worse than the SS?''

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