It’s all in the details [70 Years After Nuremberg]

Nuremberg Palace

The defendant Sauckel took the stand on 28 May 1946 and reviewed for the Court his history with the party, administration responsibilities and interactions with Himmler, Hitler and others now being tried in regard to his responsibilities in Thuringia.  Technical issues had to be addressed during Sauckel’s testimony at least once, highlighting some of the difficulties of language that the trial had presented since the beginning.

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, I do not understand the German language, but it appears to me that if you would not make pauses between each word it would make your sentences shorter; and pause at the end of the sentence. It would be much more convenient for the interpreter. I do not know whether I am right in that. That is what it looks like. You are pausing between each word, and therefore it is difficult, I imagine, to get the sense of the sentence.

SAUCKEL: I beg your pardon, Your Lordship.

On the 29th, before the defendant resumed the stand his defense counsel and the court had an exchange that further illuminated the complexity of workflow and details that made the trial possible.

THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): The Tribunal will adjourn this afternoon at 4 o’clock in order to sit in closed session.

MR. THOMAS J. DODD (Executive Trial Counsel for the United States): Mr. President, the day before yesterday the Tribunal asked if we would ascertain whether or not Document Number D-880 had been offered in evidence. It consists of extracts from the testimony of Admiral Raeder, and we have ascertained that it was offered, and it is Exhibit Number GB-483. It was put to a witness by Mr. Elwyn Jones in the course of cross-examination, and it has been offered in evidence.


MR. DODD: Also, with respect to the Court’s inquiry concerning the status of other defendants and their documents, we are able to say this morning that with respect to the Defendant Jodl the documents are now being translated and mimeographed, and there is no need for any hearing before the Tribunal.  The Seyss-Inquart documents have been heard and are now being translated and mimeographed.  The Von Papen documents are settled; there is no disagreement between the Prosecution and the Defendant Von Papen, And they are in the process of being mimeographed and translated.  With respect to the Defendant Speer, we think there will be no need for any hearing, and I expect that by the end of today they will be sent to the translating and mimeographing departments.  The documents for the Defendant Von Neurath have not yet been submitted by the defendant to the Prosecution.  And with respect to the Defendant Fritzsche, our Russian colleagues will be in a position to advise us more exactly in the course of the day. I expect that I shall be able to advise the Tribunal as to the Defendant Fritzsche before the session ends today.

THE PRESIDENT: Does that conclude all questions of witnesses?

MR. DODD: Yes, I believe-at least, we have no objection to any of the witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, then; there need not be any further hearing in open court on the cases of the Defendants Jodl, Seyss-Inquart, Von Papen, and Speer until their actual cases are presented.

Defendants with headphones for translation of statements

MR. DODD: Yes, Sir.


DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (Counsel for the Defendant Sauckel): Mr. President, I have a technical question to bring up. Yesterday the witness Hildebrandt arrived, but again it was the wrong Hildebrandt. This is the third witness who has appeared here in this comedy of errors. It was the wrong one for Mende, the wrong one for Stothfang, and the wrong one for Hildebrandt. But this witness knows where the right ones are.  The witnesses had received information in their camp that they were to appear here and they were then taken to the collecting center for Ministerial Directors in Berlin-Lichterfelde. Perhaps it will still be possible to bring these two witnesses here. Especially the witness Hildebrandt, who can testify about the French matters, would be of importance if we could still get him.

THE PRESIDENT: Was the name given accurately to the General Secretary?

DR. SERVATIUS: The name was given accurately. The other man’s name was also Hildebrandt, only not Hubert but Heinrich. He was also a Ministerial Director…

THE PRESIDENT: I do not mean only the surname but all his Christian names.

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, one name was Heinrich and the other Hubert, and abbreviated it was “H” for both, Dr. H. Hildebrandt, which apparently caused the confusion.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I say the names of all witnesses had better be given in full; really in full, not merely with initials.

DR. SERVATIUS: I had given the name in full. As to the physician, the witness Dr. Jager, I received his private address this morning. He is not under arrest. He was at first a witness for the Prosecution. His private address is in Essen, in the Viehhof Platz, and he is there now.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you had better take up all these details with the General Secretary, and he will give you every assistance.

DR. SERVATIUS: Concerning the case of Sauckel, I should like to make one more remark to the Tribunal.  There are about 150 documents which have been submitted by the Prosecution, and some of them are only remotely connected with Sauckel. No trial brief and no special charges were presented here orally against Sauckel, so that I cannot see in detail to what extent Sauckel is held responsible. The case was dealt with only under the heading of “Slave Labor,” and so the ground of the defense is somewhat unsteady.

I do not intend to discuss every one of these 150 documents, but I should like to reserve the right to deal with some of them later if that should appear necessary. I want to point out only the most important ones, and then return to them in the course of the proceedings. At any rate, may I ask you not to construe it as an admission if I do not raise objections against any of these documents now.

THE PRESIDENT: No admission will be inferred from that. Dr. Servatius, I have before me here a document presented by the French Prosecution against the Defendant Sauckel. I suppose what you mean is that that document, that trial brief entitled Responsabilite Individuelle, does not refer to each of these 150 documents.

DR. SERVATIUS: There was, first of all, a document book, ‘Slave Labor,” submitted by the American Prosecution, which is not headed “Sauckel” but “Slave Labor”; and I cannot say, therefore, which parts concern Sauckel in particular.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it does say, “. . . and the special responsibility of the Defendants Sauckel and Speer therefore. ..” That is the American document book. It does name Sauckel.


THE PRESIDENT: And there is this other trial brief presented by Mr. Mounier on behalf of the French Delegation, which is definitely against Sauckel. But no doubt that does not specify all these 150 documents that you are referring to.


[, accessed 5/31/2016]

An example: “Jackson Documents”: 1654-PS (in German, Russian, French, and English)


–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 majority of the letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace have been published and can be found 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.

Images available in Thomas J. Dodd Papers.

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