Turning the corner [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

“The Justice did a good job at examining Gisevius–as you no doubt saw in the press” Tom Dodd wrote to Grace in late April [p. 294, 4/28/1946, available on YouTube]. Recounting the details of his recent activities–closed sessions of the court, ongoing discussions about the length and effectiveness of cross-examinations and the lack of correspondence–Dodd reminded his wife that “we must be patient–I think it is worthwhile and link most worthwhile things we have to put up some sacrifices for it.” [p. 295, 4/28/1946] Continue reading

Translations and Definitions [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

During his April 17th cross-examination of the “evasive laying rogue” Alfred Rosenberg, Thomas Dodd spent a considerable amount of time asking Rosenberg to confirm his involvement in policies, speeches and actions undertaken and enforced by the German government as administered and overseen by the Nazi leaders currently on trial.[p. 287, 4/17/1946] In his cross-examination, Dodd attempted to decisively illustrate clarify Rosenberg’s role as the “Nazi Party’s chief racial theorist” who “oversaw the construction of a human racial “ladder” that justified Hitler’s racial and ethnic policies” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Rosenberg, accessed 4/26/2016]. Continue reading

A week of contrasts [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

 Two more days are gone.  I cross-examined Alfred Rosenberg this morning and think I did an adequate job–everyone seemed highly pleased with it…I did it in about two hours and thereby set a new record here–and I trust a new pattern for the rest of the case…I tell you, Grace, if I had command of each defense case I could cut this trial in half.  [p. 287, 4/17/1946]

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“I assume responsibility for every wrong that was committed” [70 Years After Nuremberg]

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On 11 April 11 1946, Defendant Kaltenbrunner took the stand at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?

ERNST KALTENBRUNNER (Defendant): Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

THE PRESIDENT: Repeat this oath after me: “I swear by God- the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing-so help me God.”

[The defendant repeated the oath In German.]

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“I believe I can truthfully say” [70 Years After Nuremberg]

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3 April 46

DR. NELTE (Counsel for the Defendant Keitel): …But you are not only a soldier, you are also an individual with a life of your own. When facts brought to your notice in your professional capacity seemed to reveal that a projected operation was unjust, did you not give it consideration?

KEITEL: I believe I can truthfully say that throughout the whole of my military career I was brought up, so to speak, in the old traditional concept that one never discussed this question. Naturally, one has one’s own opinion and a life of one’s own, but in the exercise of one’s professional functions as a soldier and an officer, one has given this life away, yielded it up. Therefore I could not say either at that time or later that I had misgivings about questions of a purely political discretion, for I took the stand that a soldier has a right to have confidence in his state leadership, and accordingly he is obliged to do his duty and to obey.  [http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/04-03-46.asp#keitel1, accessed 4/5/2016]

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“And 17 to go for a touchdown” [70 Years After Nuremberg]

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The final week in Nuremberg in March, 1946, belonged to the Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany (1938-1945), Joachim von Ribbentrop. On the 29th, von Ribbentrop continued with his defense, which Dodd thought “…woefully weak” [p. 273, 3/29/1946]. He objected to the delay of the defendant and the judge agreed as he redirected the lawyer back on track. Dodd’s statement clearly illustrates his ongoing frustration with the lack of progress of the trial. Continue reading

Göring on the stand [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

March 20th, 1946 marked a more than hectic day in the courtroom, as defendant Hermann Göring was excruciatingly difficult, even going so far as to correcting those who questioned him. The first to question Göring was Jackson, and Dodd reported his cross examination as,”…[It] continued all day with the Justice looking very good and Göring looking very poorly”[p. 267, 3/20/1946]. Justice Jackson along with the President asked Göring, “You have stated that on the Jewish question, some of the members of the government were more radical than you. Would you state who these were?” He replied, “Excuse me, I did not understand the question to mean who were more radical, but in what way they were more radical. If you ask who, then I would say that those were primarily Minister Goebbels and Himmler” [http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/03-20-46.asp#Goering7, accessed 3/21/2016]. Continue reading

A flurry in the Courtroom [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

March 13

Another day — Göring day, if you please.  He took the stand at 2:30 p.m. It came very suddenly.  We had finished our cross-examination for the witness Kesselring just after the noon recess when Dr. Stammer, counsel for Göring, suddenly called him to the stand.  There was a flurry in the courtroom.  Press men rushed to get the word on the wires.  People came into the courtroom in a hurry and in two minutes it was packed to the doorsGöring was very calm as he began his testimony.  The defendants all leaned forward in the dock — the rascal — a real buccaneer. [p. 262, 3/13/1946]

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Communication is the Key [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

In the discussion about the defense applications, Dodd decided it would be best for Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe to speak for the entire prosecution. The only minor setback was how Dodd viewed him as a lawyer, ” He also is a fence straddler and he seems terribly afraid of the Tribunal with the result that he never stands up for a viewpoint” [p. 250, 3/6/1946]. Dodd attributes this as possibly due to Sir David living under a monarchy and his obedience towards the crown.  “I tell you we Americans do not half appreciate what we have. We are the free people of this world in heart, soul, mind, and body and we show it” [pg. 250, 3/6/1946]. Freedom and respect are not common aspects throughout life, and that was more than demonstrated throughout the Trials. Continue reading

Hurry Up and Wait [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

The end of February and beginning of March ushered in the end of the prosecution portion of the Trials at Nuremberg.  The Allied lawyers were wrapping up their presentations before the court and summing up the evidence in support of the indictments.  Meetings continued to alternate with time in the courtroom for Tom Dodd and the others but the focus was beginning to shift from prosecution to defense.  The overly long presentations of the prosecutors and grey weather fostered a feeling of depression and gloom–at least for Dodd. Continue reading