Definition: designed or intended to teach

The word seems vaguely condescending – to be “didactic” is to be a bore that lectures and moralizes at every opportunity.

Why I Looked It Up

The Wikipeda page for John Demjanjuk, the Ohio autoworker who was tried as a Nazi death camp guard, says this:

The prosecution conceived of the trial as a didactic trial on the Holocaust in the manner of the earlier trial of Adolf Eichmann.

So, the Israeli government intended to use the trial not just to convict Demjanjuk, but as a larger tool to teach the world about the Holocaust.

(Demjanjuk was convicted in a year-long trial, then was freed on appeal and returned to the United States. A decade later, he was accused of different – but similar – war crimes, and was deported to Germany, where he was again convicted. He died in a German nursing home at 91, while an appeal was pending. According to German law, this means he was never fully convicted, so his remains were returned to the US and buried in Ohio.)

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