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Nuremberg Trials End 65 Years Ago Today

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  Gift of Rosemary Deutsche, The National WWII Museum Inc., 2003.443.335

Justice Given for Victims of Nazi War Crimes

The Nuremberg Trials began in November 1945 and went on for nearly a year. A program of sorts from the Museum’s collection describes in detail the proceedings at the trial and even includes a scale map of the courtroom’s layout. Representing the United States, the French Republic, the United Kingdom, and the USSR were four chief officials prosecuting some of the most infamous German leaders including Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Hans Frank, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Wilhelm Frick.

Göring, Hess, von Ribbentrop, and Keitel under guard during the trial. Courtesy of the National Archives.

A letter written by Pvt. Herman Obermayer who traveled to Nuremberg (then known as Nurnberg) to witness the historic events describes the extent of the strict security throughout the city during the trials:

“Dear Folks, Someday years from now when a dinner partner of mine looks at me with that stop-boring-me look I’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and tell her how I watched Goering and Hess and Jodl squirm and make faces during the Nurnberg Trials. Yesterday afternoon I spent three hours watching and listening to the trials, and really spent three of the most interesting hours I can remember.

You probably have to prove less about your identification and background to get into the Holy of Holies or the swankiest club of Newport than you do to get into the trials. Unless you have a friend like Bob Wolf to guide you through and around the security system the ordinary human being who wanted to see the trials would leave Nurnberg more frustrated than a Midwest businessman in Washington. The area for a block or two around the Palace of Justice is restricted which means that no civilian or soldier without proper identification can enter the area. There are guards at the gate to the Palace of Justice grounds and unless you have a pass stating your exact business you go on to a security office where you are checked and interrogated, etc…You cannot wear an overcoat or hat into the courtroom or even carry it with you as they are afraid you might be able to conceal a grenade, weapon, etc. “

[Gift of Herman Obermayer, The National WWII Museum Inc., 2004.344]

This entry by The National WWII Museum Curator Meg Roussel

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