Nuremberg Trials

“What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust.”

Justice Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel, Nuremberg,
during his opening address.

“These influences, in fact, have regenerated like a poisonous weed. Anti-Semitism and the euphemistic catchwords that led to `the Final Solution of the Jewish Question’ have reappeared hand in hand. A world-wide cult has arisen claiming that the Holocaust never happened. A hundred books, booklets, and pamphlets have been printed alleging that the slaughter was imaginary or exaggerated, and is but a Jewish invention.

“All of this might be dismissed as the frustrated thrashing about of a radical, irrational fringe were it not for the haunting parallels to the pre-Hitler era, and the continuing employment of Nazi propaganda methodology. [Conot, Robert E] Hitler’s dictum that `the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people … more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one’ has once more come into vogue.

“The most effective means to combat such distortions is to make the facts accessibile, and, with them, expose the statements for what they are. At Nuremberg, General Telford Taylor, the prosecutor of more war criminals than any other man, said: `We cannot here make history over again. But we can see that it is written true.'” (Conot, Robert E. Justice at Nuremberg. New York: Harper and Row, 1983, xii-xiii)

The International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg

“It has been argued that the Tribunal cannot be regarded as a court in the true sense because, as its members represent the victorious Allied Nations, they must lack that impartiality which is an essential in all judicial procedure. According to this view only a court consisting of neutrals, or, at least, containing some neutral judges, could be considered to be a proper tribunal. As no man can be a judge in his own case, so no allied tribunal can be a judge in a case in which members of the enemy government or forces are on trial. Attractive as this argument may sound in theory, it ignores the fact that it runs counter to the administration of law in every country. If it were true then no spy could be given a legal trial, because his case is always heard by judges representing the enemy country. Yet no one has ever argued that in such cases it was necessary to call on neutral judges. The prisoner has the right to demand that his judges shall be fair, but not that they shall be neutral. As Lord Writ has pointed out, the same principle is applicable to ordinary criminal law because ‘a burglar cannot complain that he is being tried by a jury of honest citizens.” (A.L. Goodheart, Professor at Oxford, in “The Legality of the Nuremberg Trials,” Juridical Review, April 1946)