Nuremberg: 'The greatest trial in history'

Nuremberg Trials. Defendants in their dock, circa 1945-1946, Herman Göring left | Wikipedia | Public Domain

Origins: The Nuremberg Trial

Four nations, Britain, America, France and the Soviet Union decided to put on trial some of the most influential and powerful Nazi Party members and associates, responsible for crimes against humanity during WW II. On November 20, 1945, the Nuremberg Trail began. The location of Nuremberg was symbolically chosen as it was the very place where the Third Reich held its epic rallies and propaganda parades. The trial came about as a reaction to the war crimes and atrocities of WW2 and marked a return to civilisation after six years of tyranny and destruction throughout the world.

We picked those we thought had played a leading part in leading the Nazi party and the path it took. I think I thought they looked like very ordinary people

While other World War II allies originally wanted summary executions of Nazi war criminals, the United States pushed for a trial. American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson was appointed to be the lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial by US President Harry S. Truman. Jackson hoped that the proceedings at Nuremberg would create new international laws outlawing aggressive warfare.

On 20 April 1942, representatives from the nine countries occupied by Germany met in London to draft the 'Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes'. At the meetings in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945), and Potsdam (1945), the three major wartime powers, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union, and later France, agreed on the format of punishment for those responsible for war crimes during the WW II.

The legal principles of the Nuremberg Trial and the exact nature of the indictment arose after a London agreement of August 8, 1945 which created the London Charter that established the court and its rules of law and procedures. The trial itself was filmed in short sections by the US Army Signal Corps together with audio footage and shown throughout the world’s cinemas.

Unique international court: Law vs revenge

The Nuremberg Trial established principles of international law that although not always adhered to are still widely recognised among the nations today and currently applicable in an international court of law, both for prosecution and to defence. What was incredible about such an endeavour in 1945 was the fact that instead of resorting to revenge by executing those criminals believed to be responsible for some of the worst atrocities committed under Nazi rule, the trial represented a symbolic return to civilisation and the rule of law through offering the defendants a fair trial. It allowed some of Hitler’s closest aides and the Nazi party’s most powerful members to be heard.

The trial was not only unique in the history of the jurisprudence of the world but also in how it used film footage. This footage recorded by the Allies documented the inhumane treatment of concentration camp prisoners and was used as evidence of the notorious death camp's and Hitler's Final Solution plans.

Choice of Location

The location for the trial caused a degree of debate as Luxembourg was briefly considered and the Soviet Union preferred Berlin, as it had been at the nucleus of the Nazi regime. Finally, Nuremberg was selected for two principal reasons. 1) The Palace of Justice which had survived unscathed from Allied bombing was spacious and also had a prison attached. 2) The Nuremberg building was seen as the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi party where it hosted its political rallies and was therefore considered to be an appropriate venue of judgement against the Third Reich and its symbolic demise.

The Four Indictment Principles

The trial listed four principle areas of investigation regarding the individual defendants called upon to make their pleas to the indictment lodged against them.

  • No 1: Crimes against peace (Waging aggressive war).
  • No 2: War Crimes.
  • No 3: Crimes against humanity.
  • No 4: Conspiracy to commit these crimes.

In addition to persons, the indictment charged six Nazi organisations. These bodies were named to cast a net over their many members. If the organisation were found criminal then a hearing could be held to determine the degree of guilt of a particular member. In American jurisprudence, a fundamental question is raised about the legitimacy of guilt by association.

We picked those we thought had played a leading part in leading the Nazi party and the path it took. I think I thought they looked like very ordinary people

The Defendants

Some 200 German war crimes defendants were put on trial and 1,600 others were tried under the traditional channels of military justice. The legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court was defined by the Instrument of Surrender of Germany. Political authority for Germany had been transferred to the Allied Control Council which, having sovereign power over Germany could choose to punish violations of international law and the laws of war. The main defendants included:

Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Designated Successor until 1945)

Rudolf Hess, Third Ranking Nazi

Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister under Hitler

Robert Ley, Headed, The German Labour Front 1933 – 1945

Wilhelm Keitel, Headed German High Command during WW2

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, High Ranking SS Official And Perpetrator Of The Holocaust

Alfred Rosenberg, Oversaw Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe

Hans Frank, Governor General Of Nazi-Occupied Poland

Wilhelm Frick, Minister Of Interior Under Hitler

Julius Streicher, Publisher Of Anti-Semitic Newspaper

Walther Funk, Minister Of Economic Affairs Under Hitler

Hjalmar Schacht, Financial Advisor To Hitler In 1930’s

Gustav Krupp, ran The German Friedrich Krupp AG Heavy Industry Conglomorate 1939 - 1941

Karl Doenitz, Commanded German Navy 1943 – 1945

Erich Raeder, Commanded German Navy 1928 – 1943

Baldur von Schirach, Supervised Hitler Youth 1931 – 1940

Fritz Sauckel, Directed Slave Labour During The War

Alfred Jool, Operations Chief German Armed Forces

Martin Bormann, Hitler’s Private Secretary And Head Of The Nazi Party Chancellery

Frank von Papen, Chancellor of Germany Before Hitler

Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Commissioner Of Nazi-Occupied Holland

Albert Speer, Minister In Charge Of War Economy

Constantin von Neurath, Foreign Minister 1932 – 1938

Hans Fritzsche, Headed Radio Division of Nazi Propaganda Ministry

These were some of Nazi Germany’s top leaders in court and one major role and task of the trial was to establish their roles under Hitler. Some were familiar to the public at large such as Rudolf Hess and the rotund Hermann Goering. One of the main objectives during the trial’s investigations was to discover how much each accused man knew about the killings of millions of military and civilian prisoners. would become the question.

24 ‘ordinary’ people

Sir Geoffrey Lawrence the main British judge during the Nuremberg Trial, began with a statement listing the four counts of the indictment. He requested one of the United States prosecutors, Sidney Alderman to begin reading the indictment, which took one and a half days.

All the defendants were represented by counsel and in almost all cases the counsel appearing for the defendants had been chosen by the defendants themselves, except in the case where counsel could not be obtained. In those cases, the tribunal selected suitable counsel, agreeable to the defendants.

Sir Hartley Shawcross, UK Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg summed up the methodical reasoning behind the Nazi dragnet. 'We picked those we thought had played a leading part in leading the Nazi party and the path it took. I think I thought they looked like very ordinary people. Goering stood out as obviously a man of ability who would stand out in any crowd. The others I think aroused no interest to that kind. They were just ordinary people.'

The Nuremberg Trial Newsreel

Watching the black and white film newsreel footage of the Nuremberg Trial is an unsettling experience. Casual and calm in its courtroom atmosphere, the grey-suited, defendants appear to be insouciant and detached, to the point of visible boredom in the case of Rudolf Hess. The Third Ranking Nazi and close friend of Hitler’s unflustered, nonchalant and unperturbed manner suggests to the onlooker that he and many of his co-prisoners appear to be little more than thieves subpoenaed for hearing at a Magistrates Court for petty crimes.

To say that these men, high ranking Nazi officials were facing the prospect of execution by hanging the casual, unemotional demeanour of some was a reflection of the callousness and sociopathic characteristics of their natures. The very kind of pathology which allowed such ‘ordinary’ men to carry out cruelty, barbarity, sadism and mass murder, without conscience.

The Charges

British Prosecutor Sir David Maxwell Fyfe read from court Count 2 which was handled by Britain’s prosecution team. The Defendants were charged with crimes against peace or waging aggressive war in violation of law and treaties. Maxwell-Fyfe’s speech opened with the gravest of charges against the Nazi party and its defendants in the dock.

'All the defendants with diverse other persons during a period of years preceding 8 May 1945 participated in the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties agreements and assurances.'

Fyfe continued to read out various counts against the defendants starting with Germany’s invasion of Poland and its aggression and declaration of war against Great Britain. Other countries he listed included Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, as the indictment detailed Germany’s aggression towards and the invasion of countries throughout Europe such Yugoslavia, Greece and the USSR, ending with the United States of America.

Atrocities and Crimes Against Humanity

The French and Soviet Union prosecutors looked at alleged War Crimes committed by the defendants under Count 3 of the indictment. These acts, which violated traditional concepts of the law of war, such as the use of slave labour and the bombings of civilian populations, also involved the infamous ‘reprisal’ order which said that fifty Soviet hostages should be shot for every German killed by the enemy.

Nazi defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who was held responsible for such orders was temporarily ill and absent from the court when the French prosecutor put forward the charges which included the imprisonment of civilians without legal process, torturing and murdering them.

Executions under such orders it was disclosed, were carried out by means of shooting, hanging, gassing and starvation, over-crowding, systematic under-nutrition and forcing labour tasks beyond the strengths of those ordered to carry them. The list of brutality contributed to an incomprehensible picture of sadistic tyranny involving torture techniques, such as the use hot irons, the pulling out of fingernails and subjecting prisoners to a range of painful experiments including surgical operations on living subjects.

The indictment stated that such crimes and ill-treatment were contrary to international conventions and contravened Article 46 of The Hague regulations, the laws and customs of war and the general principles of criminal law as derived from the criminal laws of all civilised nations.

Count 4 related to ‘Crimes against humanity’ which dealt specifically with the ‘Death Camps’ and concentration camps, and the killing rampages in the east. Like Count 3 the charging of such crimes was assigned to the French and the Soviets, who divided the responsibility along east-west lines. The charges revealed unspeakable acts of persecution, oppression and eventual extermination of millions of people. For the Jews such was the evidence of the Holocaust, a programme of mass slaughter, where details of the genocide of some six million people were heard for the first time in an international court, horrifying citizens around the world.

The Defendants Speak On Film

When Rudolf Hess was called up to the witness box the tall, immaculate-looking, former close colleague of Hitler and third-ranking Nazi, briefly stood up, walked a few paces to the end of the aisle and simply shouted ‘Nein’(No), before returning to his seat. Other defendants in the dock were called upon to plead guilty or not guilty as they took it in turn to walk to a point to the microphone.

Hermann Goering (Hitler’s designated successor until 1945) attempted to make a statement which was in keeping with his conduct as he tried to continue his role as a wartime leader, second only to Hitler. Goering was reprimanded by the court for attempting to make a statement and reminded to simply plead ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’. Goering replied “I declare myself in the sense of the indictment not guilty', before shuffling back to his seat.

After Hess’s flippant attitude the defendants were reminded that if any caused disturbance they would have to leave the court. The process continued with Joachim von Ribbentrop being called to the microphone who repeated Goering’s reply. Variations of 'Not Guilty', including a verbose declaration of innocence referencing ‘God’ was heard from Fritz Sauckel and Alfred Jool.

The defendants, rarely glancing at each other while sat together like sardines, appear to observers to be too insignificant to be guilty of the crimes they were on trial for. Hess himself seemed curiously bored from the very start, displaying body language – head leaning back, glancing at the ceiling with his arms folded – as if having been brought to the court was an affront and insult to him, particularly as details of the indictment was first read out by US Prosecutor, Sidney Alderman.

Notorious Nazis

Rudolf Hess. Hitler’s deputy for Nazi party matters was the third-ranking Nazi in Germany. He was one of a handful of old party veterans and fighters. Until Hess secretly flew to Scotland in 1941 with a peace proposal for Britain he was one of Hitler’s most trusted colleagues. When Hitler discovered what Hess had done he denounced him and proclaimed that his one-time close friend had a mental disorder.

Albert Speer. He was viewed as one of Hitler’s most trusted confidante. Both men shared a love of art and saw themselves as creative spirits. Speer first served as the Fuhrer’s Chief Architect and who also headed up Germany’s munitions production. To produce those weapons Speer needed workers, basically slave labour which he procured from defendant Nazi politician Fritz Sauckel, who was responsible for slave labour during the war. In his defence, Sauckel said he only rounded up the workers and was not responsible for their treatment.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Was one of the highest-ranking members of the SS to appear in the trial. The 43-year-old Austrian was accused of implementing the Jewish death campaign.

As head of the Gestapo and overseer of the concentration camps, the scar-faced and menacing former lawyer was known for bragging about his quota to kill a thousand Jews a day.

Karl Donitz. A German admiral was commander of the German Navy and who briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as the German head of state in 1945. By his own admission he was a dedicated supporter of Hitler and held anti-Semitic beliefs.

Wilhelm Keitel. Head of the German High Command and de-facto war minister under Hitler and signed German’s surrender in 1945. He was one of Germany’s most senior military leaders who was the author of the infamous Barbarossa decree which encouraged German soldiers to carry out brutality against Russian civilians.

Alfred Jodl. Chief of the Armed Forces High Command Operations Staff who directed all military campaigns which involved authorising brutal methods that the German forces employed against captured prisoners of war, including orders that certain classes of prisoners were to be summarily executed along with accusations of ordering mass shootings of Soviet POWs.

Walther Funk : A German economist and Nazi official who served as Reich Minister for Economic Affairs. Funk aligned himself with the Nazi party’s racist ideology and was responsible for the disposing of the property of German Jews earning himself the moniker of ‘The Banker of Gold Teeth’ referring to the practice of extracting gold teeth from the mouths of concentration camp victims which was melted down to yield bullion. He was also accused of knowing the whereabouts of Nazi loot which included heaps of jewellery and gold teeth that was recovered from the vaults of the Reichsbank where he was President.

Not all defendants were involved in giving orders. Others such as ‘Hitler’s banker’, Hjalmar Horace, who was the chief architect of Germany’s economic recovery and whose economic ideas were implemented by Hitler, was no Nazi and an open critic of the regime’s anti Jewish policies. Horace fell foul of the Nazi party and was imprisoned at Dachau and had a difficult time clearing his name at the Nuremberg Trials.

Nuremberg Trial: Chronology Time-Line: 20 Nov 1945 – 1 Oct 1946

Before the showcase trial at Nuremberg another trial at Luneberg in Germany, known as the Belsen trial, had begun earlier. It was one of several trials that the Allied forces conducted against former officials of Nazi Germany. In September 1945 the commandant of Belsen concentration camp and 44 Belsen and Auschwitz guards went on trial at Luneberg, where during cross-examination, a Polish Jew broke down in the witness box when describing his horrific ordeal in Auschwitz.

The Nuremberg Trials began on 20 November 1945 and were to last until sentences were passed in October 1946. Josef Kramer, the Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau dubbed the ‘Butcher of Belsen’ by camp inmates, was sentenced to death. Less than three weeks later Rudolf Hess, the longest-serving commandant of Auschwitz, who had tested and implemented the means to accelerate Hitler’s Final Solution plans, admitted that he faked amnesia and was ordered to stand trial with his fellow Nazis.

On 30 December the discovery of Hitler’s will confirmed his intention to commit suicide. It was an act he had carried out to the letter on 30 April 1945, alone in a room in his bunker, by shooting himself in the mouth as his new bride Eva Braun lay dead by him after taking poison. The double suicide was ten days after Hitler celebrated his 56th birthday.

On 8 January 1946, the trial of Goering and von Ribbentrop opened at Nuremberg as Hess asked to conduct his own defence and Julius Streicher (founder of anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer) suffered a mild heart attack. As Britain returned to war-time rations and bananas were once again on sale at Covent Garden since 1939, Nazi military leader Hermann Goering admitted responsibility for his actions during the war at the trial, but denied that he or Hitler knew of the Final Solution to exterminate Jews and other ethnic peoples sent to the death camps.

Hess himself refused to take the witness stand. In April that year as Nazi racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg took the witness stand he explained to the court why Jews must be ‘destroyed’. A fitting response to such abhorrent ideology was the sentencing at an American military court at Dachau of 58 Matthausen SS concentration camp guards, to be put to death by hanging for murder, torture, beating and the starving of inmates.

Albert Speer who served as Minister of Armaments and Hans Frank were the only defendants to show remorse for their war crimes. Frank who served as head of the German Government in Poland instigated policies that led to genocide in that country. His claim that he was unaware of the extermination camps was found to be untrue and despite surrendering forty-three volumes of his personal diaries to the allies (which were used against him as evidence of his culpability of war crimes) he was sentenced to death. Frank’s speech on the witness stand was a genuine reflection of remorse followed later by two suicide attempts before he was hanged.

In May of this year Himmler’s deputy Oswald Pohl was arrested at Bremen in northwest Germany as Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect began his defence as the Nuremberg Trials continued apace watched on news show reels distributed to cinemas around the world. On 20 August the trial’s prosecutors rejected Hess’s plea of insanity. Six days later in the intense courtroom Walter Schreiber, a major-general in the Wehrmacht Medical Service and member of the Reich revealed that the Nazis were poised to begin germ warfare experiments at Dachau. Schreiber conducted cruel and sadistic medical experiments upon prisoners and introduced the use of lethal phenol injections 'as a quick and convenient means of executing trouble makers' as well as freezing prisoners in order to examine the effects of cold. His alleged barbaric experiments were said to involve female prisoners, which led them to suffer agonising deaths after having been infected with gangrene.

In a month that saw a boom in Britain in the black market for nylons, chocolates, perfumes and other scarce goods, the Nuremberg Trial came to its end on the 31 August with only Hans Frank, Nazi governor of Poland pleading guilty. On 30 September the war crimes tribunal began to deliver its judgement.

Executions

On 1 October 1946, 12 Nazis were sentenced to death by hanging. Rudolf Hess was given a life sentence, while five were jailed and three acquitted. Nine days later the war crimes tribunal rejected pleas for clemency from 11 Nazis sentenced for execution at Nuremberg.

In the early hours of 16 Oct, ten Nazi war criminals mounted the gallows erected in the prison gymnasium at Nuremberg. Two were missing including Hitler’s deputy, Martin Bormann, believed dead, tried ‘in absentia’ and Hermann Goering, who months earlier had acknowledged responsibility for his actions during the war and committed suicide a few hours before his arranged execution by taking a cyanide pill. There were three black-painted wooden scaffolds in the long, wide room. Two were used alternately, the third being kept in reserve.

First to enter the execution chamber was Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister in the regime that was to last a thousand years. The time was 1.11am. His arms were seized by two army sergeants as he walked through the door. Handcuffs were replaced by a leather strap. Ribbentrop climbed the thirteen steps to the platform without hesitation, gave his name in a loud voice and, as the black hood was placed on his head, said 'I wish peace to the world'. The trap was sprung and he fell from view, hidden behind a dark curtain.

Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, who had told the tribunal he had just ‘obeyed orders’, was next. His last words were: 'More than two million German soldiers went to their deaths for their fatherland. I follow now my sons – all for Germany'.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, successor to Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague, licked his lips and glanced around him as the noose was tied around his neck. Alfred Rosenberg, chief exponent of the master race theory, had nothing to say before his execution. Hans Frank, governor of occupied Poland and a convert to Roman Catholicism, walked in smiling to the scaffold and unlike his many victims experienced a quick and painless death. Wilhelm Frick, 'Protector' of Bohemia, stumbled as he mounted the steps to his final moments. Julius Streicher screamed 'Heil Hitler!' and was heard groaning after he fell through the trap. Fritz Sauckel, the slave labour boss, limped on his left clubfoot up the steps to the gallows. General Alfred Jodl, in his Wehrmacht uniform, was haggard and nervous before he was hung. Last to die was Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Hitler’s governor in Austria, who called for peace and understanding between peoples before dropping through the trap door. Between executions, hangmen and guards were allowed to light up cigarettes. In total 12 Nazis were hanged, Rudolf Hess was given a life sentence, five jailed and three acquitted.

Prison Sentences

By May 1946 the trials had witnessed Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach opening his defence who was eventually convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 20 years at Spandau prison in Western Berlin. He was one of the few defendants to denounce Hitler and claimed that members of the Hitler Youth were innocent of any of the German war crimes. Schirach provided evidence that he had protested to Martin Bormann (Hitler’s private secretary) about the inhumane treatment of the Jews, but was found responsible by the tribunal for sending Viennese Jews to certain death in German concentration camps.

Albert Speer, who served in the Nazi party as the Minister of Armaments and War Production, was a close ally of Hitler. As a trained architect he designed various buildings for the Third Reich including the Reich Chancellery and – somewhat ironically due to the location of the trial – also designed the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg. Speer’s contribution to the successful production of armaments and fighter aircraft was attributed to keeping Germany at war. His war production bases used slave labour. Despite being found guilty of war crimes against humanity Speer narrowly avoided the death penalty and was instead sentenced to 20 years in Spandau prison. His books, which underlined his regret of serving Hitler, as well as denying any knowledge of the Holocaust, gave rise to the ‘Speer Myth’ and a perception that he was an apolitical technocrat rather than a believer in the Nazi party’s barbaric policies.

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess, as Appointed Deputy Fuhrer was perhaps the most deluded of Nazi party officials going by his misjudged attempt to negotiate peace with Britain and place himself in a position of power, by flying solo to Scotland for talks with the Duke of Hamilton. Hess wrongly believed the Duke was an opponent of the British government’s war policy. The former favourite of Hitler was instantly replaced by Hermann Goring once Hess’s secret flight was disclosed to an incandescent Fuhrer. Hess was immediately arrested by the authorities, imprisoned and then returned to Germany at the end of the war. His presence at the Nuremberg trial displayed a curious combination of scheming behaviour and arrogance, as he spent a good deal of time pretending to be suffering from amnesia. Despite being convicted of crimes against the peace – he was a pillar of Nazi ideology and signed into law legislation which stripped the Jews in Germany of their rights – he was sentenced to life at Spandau Prison, where in 1987 he hanged himself at 93 years of age.

Walter Schreiber testified as key witness against Herman Goering at Nuremberg. He was a brigadier-general of the Wehrmacht Medical Service and an expert in epidemiology biological warfare. During the trial Schreiber was accused of carrying out painful experiments on concentration camp inmates to test vaccines against biological warfare agents, including injecting gangrene in female prisoners. Schreiber declared to the court his protestations to senior SS officials about his objections to developing germ warfare weapons. He claimed he had never conducted experiments on prisoners, particularly women at any concentration camps, including the Ravensbruck camp exclusively for women.

In April 1945 Schreiber was taken prisoner by the Red Army and transported to the Soviet Union before he was deported back to Germany to stand trial at Nuremberg. Schreiber himself was not charged with any war crimes, although he was convicted in absentia by a Polish court of "conducting gruesome medical experiments" at Auschwitz. Held in Soviet captivity where he was Chief Doctor providing medical care to high ranking German prisoners, he was transferred to East Germany in 1948. After evading his Soviet handlers Schreiber made it to the West, where he was hired by the US military and the CIA. He joined ‘Operation Paperclip’, a network which recruited German scientists to work for the US Government until a newspaper disclosed his identity and past association with the Nazi regime prompting his deportation to Argentina, along with members of his family. Schreiber died of a heart attack in 1970 at the age of 77.

Nuremberg Legacy

The Nuremberg Trial established principles of international law that although might not always be abided by but are widely recognised among the nations as currently applicable and where lawyers have used the Nuremberg principles to prosecute and to defend.

Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Harvard, believes that the trial comprised both a legal trial based in law and also a show trial for an international audience as he revealed some years ago on US television show Court TV. 'For the United States and Britain the Nuremberg Trial was an attempt to bring the common law, the heritage of the US and Britain into international law, to try to develop a common law of human rights and common law of crimes against humanity. It served many purposes and it is primarily a legacy of the United States and Britain'.

But Dershowitz also found fault with the trial, one in which he believed allowed Germany, as the aggressor of WW II a ‘get out’. 'The one major moral failure of Nuremberg was by focusing so much attention on 22 leaders of the Nazi party, it gave the German people - where many supported the programmes of Nazism - to be able to say that the German people weren’t at fault, and that only a few Nazis were responsible for the war and the atrocities carried out by The Third Reich. The view that that the most ‘guilty’ had been punished played beautifully for the Cold War because it encouraged a let’s get on with business making peace with Germany, because we’re warring with the Soviet Union'

One of the most important legacies of the trial was its use of hundreds of thousands of documents recorded by the Nazi Party, where its meticulous book-keeping served to be used as evidence against the defendants. Such documentation and the Nuremberg Trial itself stand as testament to the atrocities carried out by the Nazis such as the Holocaust and acts as an important counter to Holocaust deniers. As Dershowitz himself says 'Real evidence doesn’t lie – only people do'.

Nuremberg Trials. Defendants in their dock, circa 1945-1946, Herman Göring left | Wikipedia | Public Domain

Written by:

Richard Bevan

Richard Bevan is an MA Screenwriter/playwright and freelance writer specialising in history and crime investigation writing.  He is currently contributing to Sky HISTORY channel. Represented by WGM Atlantic agency.