August 1945 [70 Years after Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

Nuremberg Palace

With the establishment of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) to be held in Nürnberg, Germany, the real work of creating an appropriate space for the court and the necessary supporting operations began.  Thomas J. Dodd, a Connecticut lawyer on the staff of the FBI, was selected by Justice Robert Jackson, the lead prosecutor for the United States, to participate in the herculean task of collecting and sorting through the available documentation to begin formulating the U.S. team’s legal plan for the upcoming trial.  Arriving in London in late July 1945, Dodd began gathering information.  Writing to his wife, Dodd recounts the devastation of London as a result of bombing and his travels to some of the more well-known sights before moving on to Paris in early August following the finalization of the British, French and Soviet legal teams.

Portion of letter dated 7 August 1945

Portion of letter dated 7 August 1945

Although frustrated with his assignment, he writes “I have thought of it but have decided to give myself and the job a better chance by way of time.  You see it is a Colonel’s clique—from top to bottom—and it is provokingly unpleasant for civilians.  I believe a terrible mistake has been made in this respect.  It should be run by civilians in the name of the civil population and in the interest of peace by way of contributing to the prevention of war.” [p. 79, 8/7/1945].,_20.04.1945.jpg

Soldiers of the US 3rd Infantry Division in Nuremberg, Germany on 20 April 1945

Two weeks later, Dodd arrived “in the dead city of Nürnberg…I saw for the first time in my life the awful ruin that comes with war.  This city is devastated–the buildings, houses and streets are a complete mess.  Streetcars piled up, a mass of burned and twisted steel, the rubble is everywhere.  Soldiers in helmets and armed on patrol.  Nothing but army vehicles on the roads and streets…” [p. 90, 8/14/1945]

He journeyed through the ruins of the city, exploring many places including his quarters at Hitler’s own Grand Hotel.  Severely damaged, the hotel was missing most of the glass in the windows, the walls and floors compromised and made passable with planking, no hot water or heat and yet, “this is the best in this city that was once home to 400,000 people.”

Portion of letter dated 14 August 1945

Portion of letter dated 14 August 1945

Having settled in as much as was possible, Dodd began the interrogation of the prisoners who had been transferred to the city for the coming trial. Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, and Karl Doenitz were transferred from Luxembourg, having been held there until the 10,000 prisoners of war finished reconstructing the courtroom in which the trial would be held.

Between August 14th and 27th, Dodd met with and deposed Alfred Rosenberg (minister of culture and occupied countries), Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel (chief of staff of the German army), Lieutenant General Alfred Jodl (military operations), and Joachim von Ribbentrop (foreign minister).

Grand Hotel, Nuremberg, Germany

Interspersed with the legal preparations, Dodd toured the city and on a brief excursion to Munich, he observed that the “endless procession of refugees goes on—mile after mile on foot, on horse, in wagons.  We passed on wagon train a mile long. It looked just like the pictures of covered wagon days in America—even the rounded tops on the wagons—horses and oxen doing the hauling, the men walking, the women and little ones riding.  All heading back to Czechoslovakia, to Romania, to Bulgaria, to Austria, to places they call home.  Believe me Grace, this movement across Europe is a pitiful thing—and it wrings my heart to see it day after day.” [p. 104-105, 8/25/1945]  Dodd was concerned for the refugees, how would they survive throughout the coming winter and could they overcome illnesses or succumb to the cold, exposed to the harsh reality of winter?

Life in Europe had been greatly altered by war and many hoped that justice would prevail as a result of the upcoming trial which would begin once the courtroom was finished; new beginnings and hope in a city damaged almost beyond recognition.

–Owen Doremus and Betsy Pittman


[Owen Doremus, a junior at Edwin O. Smith High School, is supporting this blog series with research and writing as part of an independent study.]

The letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace have been published and can be found (page numbers are noted) in Letters from Nuremberg, My father’s narrative of a quest for justice.  Senator Christopher J. Dodd with Lary Bloom. New York: Crown Publishing, 2007.

Interrogations introduced into evidence are available online as part of the Thomas J. Dodd Papers (

Images (other than those available in Dodd Papers):

Soldiers of the US 3rd Infantry Division in Nuremberg, Germany on 20 April 1945 (,_20.04.1945.jpg)

Grand Hotel, Nürnberg, Germany (

70 Years After Nuremberg

Nuremberg Palace

Nuremberg Palace of Justice, 1945.

On August 8, 1945, representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, provisional government of France and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed the Agreement and Charter establishing the International Military Tribunal for the prosecution and punishment of the major War Criminals, known as the London Charter.   The result of long and difficult negotiations that began while the Allied forces pushed in on the German lines from both east and west, the London Charter was concluded almost three months to the day that Germany surrendered to the Soviet Union.

The charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) declared that aggressive war was an international crime and established the IMT court in Nuremberg, Germany to try the remaining major German leaders for their actions both before and during World War II. Nuremberg was notorious as the city where Hitler had proclaimed his racial laws in 1935. Four judges from the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, as well as alternates for each, were assigned the jurisdiction to try high ranking German government, military, and civilian leaders deemed personally responsible for the specific crimes. This would be the first time that an international court would hold a government responsible for its treatment of both its own citizens and citizens of other countries during war time. Continue reading

The Ku Klux Klan, Rebel Pride and Anti-Klan Resistance

Anti-Racism Coalition of Connecticut, pamphlet.

Anti-Racism Coalition of Connecticut, pamphlet.

On June 18 2015, Dylann Roof, 21 years old, shot and killed nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  When Roof was apprehended, he wore the flags of Apartheid-Era South Africa and Rhodesia, former white supremacist settler colonial states in Southern Africa.  Roof also had Confederate flags hung on his walls and frequented white power websites.  These race based murders fueled an ongoing debate about Confederate symbolism and its usage in the private and public spheres.  The Alternative Press Collection at the Archives & Special Collections is comprised of fringe publishing from both ends of the political spectrum such as White Patriot and Death to the Klan.  The current debate around the Confederate flag draws on long standing uses of historical interpretation and cultural identity dating to the Civil War and Reconstruction era of 1861-1877.  As demonstrated in this exhibition currently on display in the Archives through these selected materials from the Alternative Press, Northeast Children’s Literature and Labor collections, figures such as Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, abolitionists John Brown and Frederick Douglass serve as symbolic totems of heritage, spirituality and citizenship. Continue reading

South Africa, Archives and the African National Congress

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

My visit to South Africa on assignment for Global Affairs/UNESCO and Archives & Special Collections began in the first week of June in Johannesburg during an unusually cold winter (for South Africa).  The purpose of the trip was to explore and convene on the archival landscape which had been mapped in 2000 through a partnership between the African National Congress (ANC) and the University of Connecticut.  The initial archives project was funded by the Mellon Foundation to organize, describe and make accessible the ANC archives documenting its activities while in exile under Apartheid.  These archives, located at the National Heritage and Cultural Studies Center (NAHECS) University of Fort Hare (UFH) in Alice, Eastern Cape, have been available in their reading room for public research since 2005.  Between 2000 and 2005, UConn sent faculty, archivists, librarians and oral historians to UFH to hold training sessions and benefit from this skill sharing partnership.  In conjunction, UFH sent archivists and librarians to receive training within the UConn libraries. Continue reading

The Hunting Ground, Film Screening


The Title IX Coalition and The Graduate Employee Union/United Auto Workers Union will host a discussion and screening of the film The Hunting Ground, the ground breaking documentary that demonstrates the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses and the lack of meaningful administrative response to victim-survivors.

The film engages with the Title IX struggles and the national movement across college campuses, which includes the University of Connecticut.  After the film, a discussion will follow with students and faculty who have been part of the legal filings and ongoing social justice movements at UCONN.








Human Rights in Northern Burma

–Matt Jones is a PhD candidate in the English department at the University  of Connecticut. His work focuses on post-Enlightenment discourse in 18th– and 19th-century British literature. He has contributed to the processing and description of the Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet and contributes research commentary on the collection to the Human Rights Archives Blog.

Box 180, Folder 14

A Burmese Appeal to the UN and US. Box 180, Folder 14

A lingering feeling of hopelessness permeated the old and young villagers of northern Burma under the SLORC – State Law and Order Restoration Council – regime of the 1980s and 1990s. The SLORC did not discriminate based on age, nor did the poor living conditions that became perpetuated under them. In interviews conducted with local children by Project Maje along the Burma – China border in 1991, multiple interviewees reported having already contracted malaria, theft of livestock by the Burmese government, and the early death of siblings. Nearly all of the children reported that fleeing from government forces brought them to the villages they now inhabit. A separate set of interviews with adults in the area revealed what treatment the children had to look forward to should they make it to adulthood. Adult interviewees related experiences of forced labor by the SLORC forces (called “portering”), SLORC agents requiring money or goods from traders on their way to market, and the torture of those too enfeebled to participate in forced labor. Each interview ended with the question of whether there was any hope for the future: the general answer was “no” with an occasional nod toward the desire for a true democracy. Continue reading

2014-2015 Human Rights Film Series: Come Hell or High Water

89f65881-95da-4ba0-80dc-25ee3640b277 Wednesday February 11th, 2015


Storrs Campus

Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center

Admission is FREE

    Come Hell or High Water (2014)

This film follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbor stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.


Human Rights Internet and China

Lulu Peng is a graduate student in the Communications Department at the University of Connecticut.  She interned at the Archives & Special Collections in the fall of 2014.  Her project utilized her skills in Mandarin Chinese to identify and describe content on China in the Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet Collection.

The Collection is so extensive and to some extent, invaluable in that it records the human rights predicament and movements in different corners of the world. The correspondence, flyers, reports and publications altogether sketch a unique part of the human rights history. These materials, dating back to the late 70s, 80s and the early 90s, demonstrate each aspect of human rights struggle, against death penalty, extrajudicial execution, violence towards minorities, gender inequalities and so on. It is intriguing to observe the encounter of the essentially obscure history and the honest pieces that compose it, as shown in the letters written by the former Vice President of Taiwan, Lu Hsiu-lien to Laurie Wiseberg, and the letters to the Human Rights Internet (HRI) concerning the June Fourth Incident in Beijing 1989, for instance.

-Lulu Peng

Correspondance, Box 61Correspondance Box 61

Human Rights Institute Film Series: October 2014

blood rising

The first installment of the HRI Films Series will begin Wednesday, October 1st with the screening of Blood Rising: Daughters of Mexico. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker Mark McLoughlin and other invited speakers.  Airing at 3:30-6:00pm in Konover Auditorium, Dodd Research Center.