I believe it was published in a science fiction magazine in this century (such as Asimov, Astounding, etc.), but it could have been in the late 1990's, and it could even have been in a older book anthology.

The subtext of the story raised difficult questions about how much punishment is enough, matching punishment to the crime, torture, and is punishment really only about revenge and not at all about rehabilitation.

  • 2
    I don't think it's what you're looking for, but Goering shows up in The Riverworld books, and I think he gets killed and resurrected a lot. Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 21:21
  • Definitely sounds like a Riverworld but they didn't really have the punishment subtext.
    – user8719
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 23:27
  • I dunno; Riverworld has a lot of underlying messages, but that's not one I remember; if I remember correctly, his was more about what environment could do to a person's development, as he became a peaceful missionary on Riverworld.... It actually reminds me of Orson Scott Card's A Thousand Deaths, but that's not Goering..., and the basic message wasn't about vengeance.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 1:28
  • Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad also has a scene where a man is resurrected and killed every day as a punishment. I don't think Goering is involved though.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 12:45
  • 1
    @OldSciFiReader: Could it be George Zebrowski's The Eichmann Variations ?
    – DCoder
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


This is The Eichmann Variations by George Zebrowski (h/t to @DCoder for the suggestion).

After capturing Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi hunters clone the criminal and execute the replicas -- recognizing the barbarity of eye-for-an-eye, but seeing no other recourse but to equal the loss of Jewish life with the repeated taking of Eichmann's life. The morality of creating innocent beings to be sacrificed to the grist mill of Eichmann's projected guilt and the victims' principles for existence is combed over with a surgeon's precision and a satirist's wit.

It certainly seems to fit the description, has been repeatedly anthologised since its original publishing date and is less about the actual story and more about the philosophical and moral dimension.

A world benefiting so greatly from Israeli science and technology looked the other way when I was kidnapped. Nazis were merely a strange and rare form of humanity collected by their Jewish benefactors, for private reasons.


“It is the best we can do, anyone can do. Six million German flesh for six million Jewish. German flesh created by our conscience, from our soil and the sunlight of God, Mr. Eichmann.” I stared at him and answered, “Innocence in your eyes is not the prize you think. I repudiate nothing.”


“Shall we stop then?” “No—that would waste all that has gone before. He will live and he will die. Maybe we’ll learn something yet.” “But how can you even hope?” “If even one variation repents, I’ll destroy the original and close down the project.”

  • Bravo Richard. That is the story and I read it in Zebrowski's collection "Swift Thoughts". Obviously my memory was faulty in the source, but thank you for making that connection. I was beginning to question whether I was conflating it and it really was Riverworld. I'm selecting this as the correct answer. Thanks again! Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 18:36

Perhaps it is the short story "My Name is Legion" by Lester Del Rey from the 1940s? It was included in the anthology "The Fantastic World War II: The War That Wasn't" collected by S.M. Stirling and Frank McSherry Jr.


A science fiction short story in which a German scientist tricks a leading Nazi into becoming his own army - a Legion of Nazis. Each nazi in the legion has been pulled into the stories "today" from 24 hours further into the future than the previous one and as a result each successive Nazi (there are many thousands) is a day older. The oldest are senile old men.

The scientist has terminal cancer and because he is ready to die his perception of time has changed enough for him to discover how to pull future things into the present.

The story ends 24 hours after it starts with the oldest Nazi in the loop trying to shoot the original in order to prevent the time loop from happening. The original Nazi vanishes just before the bullet arrives - he has been pulled back in time to be the first member of the legion.

  • This description does not match my recollection at all. Thanks for the suggestion. Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 17:49

Definitely Riverworld. He became part of a cult who travelled preaching, and if killed just got resurrected in another part of the planet. They saw this as part of their penance.

  • 1
    Again, not Riverworld. I actually thought about that when I posted the question. I should have made the question more clear. This question is about a short story, not a novel. I may have incorrectly identified Goering as the high Nazi. I don't think it was Hitler. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 20:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.