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10 Things You May Not Know About the Nuremberg Trials

10 Things You May Not Know About the Nuremberg Trials

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1. Nuremberg was chosen as the location for the trials because of its symbolic value.

The Bavarian city that spawned the rise of the Third Reich by hosting massive Nazi Party propaganda rallies in the 1920s and 1930s was deemed by the victorious Allies to be a fitting place to stage its symbolic death. Although World War II had left much of the city in rubble, the Palace of Justice—which included a sizable prison capable of holding 1,200 detainees—remained largely undamaged and was chosen to host the trials once German prisoners completed the work of enlarging its courtroom.

2. It was the first trial of its kind with judges from four countries.

The Nuremberg Trials marked a milestone in the establishment of international law. While there had been prior prosecutions of war crimes in history, such as that of Confederate army officer Henry Wirz, those had been conducted according to the laws of a single country. Until the Nuremberg Trials, there had been no precedent for an international trial of war criminals. Rather than use a single judge and jury, the trial of high-ranking Nazi leaders was conducted by a panel of four judges. The United States, Soviet Union, France and Great Britain each supplied a main judge and an alternate, and Britain’s Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence presided. The Nuremberg Trials served as a precedent for the subsequent prosecution of war crimes in Japan and led to the establishment of the United Nations Genocide Convention and Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as well as the Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War in 1949.

3. The Nuremberg Trials marked the first prosecutions for crimes against humanity.

The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which set the laws and procedures for the conduct of the Nuremberg Trials, defined three categories of crimes: crimes against the peace, war crimes and, for the first time, crimes against humanity, which included murder, enslavement or deportation of civilians or persecution on political, religious or racial grounds.

4. The trials marked the introduction of simultaneous translation.

With the defendants, judges and lawyers speaking a mix of German, French, English and Russian, a language barrier threatened to bog down the proceedings. However, the development of a new instantaneous translation system by IBM allowed every trial participant to listen via headsets to real-time translations of the proceedings. Yellow lights at microphones warned speakers to slow down for the benefit of the translators, while red lights signaled the need to stop and repeat statements. The simultaneous translation system allowed the trial to be conducted four times faster than if consecutive translation was used.

5. A Supreme Court justice led the American team of prosecutors.

President Harry Truman asked Robert Jackson, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, to serve as the chief American prosecutor at the international tribunal. Jackson accepted the offer but was adamant that the proceedings not be a show trial. “If we want to shoot Germans as a matter of policy, let it be done as such, but don’t hide the deed behind a court,” he wrote. Jackson’s colleague, Chief Justice Harlan Stone, did not think highly of the proceedings. “Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg,” he wrote privately to a friend in 1945. “I don’t mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas.”

6. A prosecutorial advisor originated the term “genocide.”

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born lawyer who served as an advisor to Jackson, is credited with coining the term “genocide” in 1944 to describe the Nazis’ planned extermination of Jews. The word is an amalgam of “genos,” the Greek word for “tribe” or “race,” and “-cide,” Latin for “killings.” Lemkin, who lost nearly 50 relatives in the Holocaust, defined genocide as “a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” The Nuremberg Trials marked the first-ever prosecutions for genocide.

7. Not all the defendants were found guilty.

Of the 22 high-ranking Nazis who stood trial for war crimes before the international tribunal, 12 were sentenced to death by hanging, including Martin Bormann, the personal secretary to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler who is now believed to have committed suicide in May 1945, in absentia. Seven others, including Hitler’s former deputy Rudolf Hess, received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life, but three were acquitted.

8. Hermann Goering committed suicide on the eve of his scheduled execution.

The highest-ranking Nazi to survive the war, Gestapo founder and Luftwaffe commander-in-chief Herman Goering took his own life on the night of October 15, 1946, just hours before his scheduled execution. Dressed in silk pajamas, the man instrumental in ordering the Holocaust cheated the noose by ingesting a small glass capsule of potassium cyanide that he had smuggled into prison. In a suicide note to his wife, Hitler’s heir apparent wrote that he would be willing to die by firing squad but not in such an undignified manner as hanging. “I have decided to take my own life, lest I be executed in so terrible a fashion by my enemies,” Goering wrote.

9. The executioner reportedly botched the hangings.

After Goering’s suicide, the Allies immediately ordered the remaining 10 condemned men to be handcuffed to guards and dispatched clergymen to administer last rites. In the early morning hours of October 16, 1946, the Nazi war criminals were hanged one-by-one from a scaffolding erected in a prison gymnasium. “I hope that this execution will be the last act of the tragedy of the Second World War,” said Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the last of the 10 men to be hanged, as he was led to the gallows. The executions, which took nearly two hours to complete, were administered by the U.S. Army’s official hangman, Master Sergeant John C. Woods. “I wasn’t nervous,” the chief executioner, who had overseen nearly 350 hangings in a 15-year career, told Time magazine. “A fellow can’t afford to have nerves in this business.” The magazine reported, however, that witnesses said “the executions had been cruelly bungled” with the ropes too short and the trap doors too small, resulting in deaths of slow strangulation. The U.S. Army denied the report.

10. A dozen subsequent trials of Nazi war criminals were held at Nuremberg.

While the trial of the 22 high-ranking Nazi leaders before the international tribunal was the most notable of the judicial proceedings held at Nuremberg, 12 additional trials occurred there between 1946 and 1949. Among the nearly 200 other Nazis tried at Nuremberg were doctors accused of conducting medical experiments on prisoners of war, lawyers and judges charged with implementing the Nazis’ “racial purity” program through eugenic and racial laws, military officers accused of atrocities against prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates and industrialists who profited from slave labor and plundered occupied countries. Growing differences among the Allies as the Cold War began caused the subsequent trials to be conducted before U.S. military tribunals instead of once again before a panel of international judges.

The search continues. Watch new episodes of HUNTING HITLER Tuesdays at 10/9c on HISTORY.

Nuremberg: 'The greatest trial in history'

Four nations, Britain, America, France and the Soviet Union decided to put on trial some of the most influential and powerful Nazi Party members and associates, responsible for crimes against humanity during WW II. On November 20, 1945, the Nuremberg Trail began. The location of Nuremberg was symbolically chosen as it was the very place where the Third Reich held its epic rallies and propaganda parades. The trial came about as a reaction to the war crimes and atrocities of WW2 and marked a return to civilisation after six years of tyranny and destruction throughout the world.

We picked those we thought had played a leading part in leading the Nazi party and the path it took. I think I thought they looked like very ordinary people

While other World War II allies originally wanted summary executions of Nazi war criminals, the United States pushed for a trial. American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson was appointed to be the lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial by US President Harry S. Truman. Jackson hoped that the proceedings at Nuremberg would create new international laws outlawing aggressive warfare.

On 20 April 1942, representatives from the nine countries occupied by Germany met in London to draft the 'Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes'. At the meetings in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945), and Potsdam (1945), the three major wartime powers, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union, and later France, agreed on the format of punishment for those responsible for war crimes during the WW II.

The legal principles of the Nuremberg Trial and the exact nature of the indictment arose after a London agreement of August 8, 1945 which created the London Charter that established the court and its rules of law and procedures. The trial itself was filmed in short sections by the US Army Signal Corps together with audio footage and shown throughout the world’s cinemas.

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Nuremberg: The Trial of Firsts

The Nuremberg Trials were the first of their kind. They started on November 20, 1945, with more than 20 indicted Nazi leaders in the dock accused of the most horrendous war crimes. Their trial lasted ten months.

To put this historical context: the Nazi Party held a massive rally in the city of Nuremberg in 1933 shortly after Hitler became Chancellor. Such events were not unusual the Nazi party staged annual Nuremberg rallies in the 20s and 30s. Hundreds of thousands of the parties’ faithful attended the extravaganzas of music, parades, rousing speeches cloaked in pomp and circumstance, and propaganda.

William L. Shirer, a correspondent for the Columbian Broadcasting Service in Berlin and author of the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, described in his diary what he saw at the Nuremberg Rally at on September 7, 1935.

“Another great pageant tonight. Two hundred thousand party officials packed in the

Zeppelin Wiese…, ‘We are strong and will get stronger,’ Hitler shouted at them. And

there in the flood-lit night, jammed together like sardines, in one mass formation,

the little men of Germany who have made Nazism possible achieved the highest state

of being the Germanic man knows the shedding of their individual souls and minds…

they were merged completely in the Germanic herd.”

Berlin Diary: the Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William L. Shirer (1941).

The Bavarian city of Nuremberg was devastated by Allied bombing during the war. However, partly because Nuremberg had been the site of Nazi triumph and power highlighted by the notorious rallies held there, it was the location of choice for the trials of Nazi leaders indicted on one or more of four charges:

1) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace.

2) Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crime against peace.

4) Crimes against humanity.

Four judges who were, German, French, English and Russian speakers required immediate translations during the court proceedings. The solution was an instantaneous translation system created and provided by IBM. The recently coined crime of “genocide,” was prosecuted for the first time at the trials was developed by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born lawyer who lost 50 members of his family in the Holocaust.

Also, for the first time, film provided indisputable evidence both of the war and the liberation of concentration camps. Hollywood directors John Ford, George Stevens and Samuel Fuller captured raw footage that became a documentary titled, Nazi Centration Camps. This film became crucial evidence, presenting the crimes the Nazis committed in an unflinching and authentic format to the court.

The Museum’s current special exhibit, Filming of the Camps, From Hollywood to Nuremberg: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens, is viewable through August 3, 2017, at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. It introduces viewers to the three filmmakers who expertly filmed the liberation of the camps. You’ll explore their experiences during WWII, see their footage and the incredibly detailed “captions” they wrote for the scenes they captured, and the impact of what they witnessed had on their lives. The exhibit includes interviews with the directors as well. Visit this Museum through August 3rd to learn about the using film as evidence during the Nuremburg trials.

Subsequent trials ensued in Nuremberg, and other locations as Nazi war criminals who escaped to South and North America and beyond were found and brought to justice.

During the following seventy years since the Nuremburg Trials, famed Nazi hunters, such as Simon Wiesenthal, continued to research and ferret out Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. Join us for opening night of the play, Wiesenthal.

The American Heritage World Picture Book of World War II by C.L. Sulzberger and the Editors of

American Heritage, The Magazine of History

Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William L. Shirer (1941)

1. Martin Harris Bore Testimony of the Plates in a Court of Law

Martin Harris is often best remembered for losing 116 manuscript pages of the early translation of the Book of Mormon. Those pages were never retranslated, so their contents are absent from the Book of Mormon to this day. But Martin Harris did much more to contribute to bringing forth the Book of Mormon than many realize, and deserves to be remembered for more of his positive contributions. For example, Martin sold most of his farm in Palmyra (about 150 acres) to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon.

One of the lesser known stories about Martin Harris is that before he even saw the plates he actually testified of them during a legal proceeding. In March 1829, Martin’s wife Lucy Harris organized the people of Palmyra in opposition to Joseph Smith, bringing a legal suit against him for defrauding the people. Martin knew he would be asked to testify during this trial, so went to Joseph seeking a witness of the plates. Martin did not get to see the plates at that time, but the Lord revealed for the first time that there would be three witnesses and promised Martin that he could be chosen as one of them if he humbled himself (D&C 5). This gave Martin the assurance he needed, and at the trial he testified “And as to the plates which [Joseph Smith] professes to have, gentlemen, if you do not believe it, but continue to resist the truth, it will one day be the means of damning your souls.”

12 Early Reports Of Concentration Camps Were Thought To Be False

While the Allies on the Western Front had retreated across the British Channel early in the war and later pushed the Germans back after the D-Day landing, the Soviet Union had fought to a stalemate before starting to push back. By 1944, the Soviets had made their way into Poland. They were the first to encounter a concentration camp. That camp was Majdanek, near the Polish city of Lublin. This camp was primarily used for labor, but like almost all camps, many people were killed. The most recent reliable numbers are 80,000, and just under 60,000 were Jewish.

When the Western Allies were informed of the Soviets overrunning the camp, they did not believe what they heard. While the Soviet Union was obviously in an alliance with France, Great Britain, the U.S., and others, it was by this point, an alliance that was growing increasingly uneasy. Of course, just under a year later, soldiers from the United States would learn the true horrors of the Holocaust.

CBS wasn’t Cronkite’s first stop in the journalism world. As a United Press reporter, he covered a number of battles during World War II. Reuters reported that some of his biggest feats included parachuting into the Netherlands with the 101st Airborne Division and landing with allied troops at Normandy on D-Day. He also heavily covered the Nuremberg Trials.

While one of Cronkite’s most famous broadcasts was on the John F. Kennedy assassination, he also broke the news of both Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lennon being killed.


The Best Nuremberg Museums

30) Spend a Rainy Day at the Germanic National Museum

Another fun thing to do in Nuremberg in Winter or when it rains is visiting a museum – and there’s no better choice than the Germanisches Nationalmusem, (Germanic National Museum).

The museum was founded in the mid-19th Century, and it houses an eclectic collection of artefacts, which reflect Germany’s art and culture from prehistoric times through to the modern day.

Some of the most noteworthy exhibits are in the Medieval section, with stunning altarpieces and wooden statues. There are also several portraits by Nuremberg’s most famous son, Albrecht Dürer, as well as Martin Luther’s famous portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

If you prefer creepy sights, there’s an entire section on ‘Old Justice’, with fetters, stocks, metal masks and even an executioner’s sword.

Another unmissable sight for travel lovers is the Erdapfel, the oldest globe in the world, dating back from 1490. Naturally, there are some imperfections – the Americas are missing, Japan is twice its real size and some ‘mythical lands’ are included.

Don’t miss visiting – this is definitely Nuremberg’s best museum for history buffs!

FREE with the Nuremberg Card!

31) Travel Through History at the City Museum in Fembo House

The City Museum in Fembo House is a restored merchant’s house from the 16th century, which presently houses art, culture, and historical exhibitions. It is located halfway up to the Castle, and it’s another great place to visit in Nuremberg for history lovers.

More than 950 years of German history are put on display inside this house with beautiful architecture. You can also see some replicas of the Crown Jewels, housed in Nuremberg’s castle for over four centuries.

If you are in a rush, the audioguides are a perfect way to get the gist of Nuremberg’s history in just half an hour.

FREE with the Nuremberg Card!

32) Relive Your Childhood at the Toy Museum

Nuremberg has been renowned for its toy making industry for over 600 years – starting from the first medieval dolls, and extending all the way through present-day action figurines and toy train models.

At the Nuremberg Toy Museum, you’ll find ancient and modern toys on display, including an impressive collection of dollhouses of all shapes and sizes.

There is also a section where games can be played, making the Toy Museum a great thing to do in Nuremberg in winter or on a rainy day, especially with children!

FREE with the Nuremberg Card!

33) Admire Architecture at the Neues Museum

Are you more into modern than ancient art? If that’s the case, make your way to the Neues Museum, dedicated to contemporary art and design.

First of all, the sleek, airy exhibition space will win you over – think lots of white, curved walls and a minimalistic aesthetic contrasting with the ‘fairytale look’ found all over Nuremberg.

Exhibition are rotated about twice a year, so if you’ve been to the museum before, you may find something completely new. Another reason to visit? There are beehives on the hotel roof, and you can buy their honey at the gift shop!

FREE with the Nuremberg Card!


My favorite area in Nuremberg Old Town was around the Imperial Castle. This area is more historic with colorful buildings and houses, including the Albrecht Dürer house, which is a museum today. It’s named after Albrecht Dürer (1471 to 1528), a painter, famous for being one of the first artists to do a self portrait.

I spent a lot of time wandering the streets and taking photos of the half-timbered houses, which were similar to the ones in France and Denmark. This is definitely the prettiest place in Nuremberg, Germany.

10. Castlevania Is Full Of References To Other Franchises


If you've played the original Metal Gear Solid with Castlevania save data on your memory card, then you got to witness Psycho Mantis ask Snake if he liked the other Konami franchise. Of course he does, it's a mostly great series. But did you know that the references go in the reverse, too?

Castlevania games are replete with random Konami references, such as being able to kneel in various spots of the first game to summon small Moaui head statues from Gradius. In Dawn of Sorrow you can kneel between two sets of spikes to summon Konami's old mascot 'Konami man'. There are even some deep-cuts, like an item in Circle of the Moon which will turn the character into Beartank, a character from the 1998 fighting game Rakugakids, that likely few have even heard of.

But the references don't end with other Konami titles. In Aria of Sorrow, the player can acquire an item from the Cagnazzo enemy - named after a character from Dante's Inferno - which calls forth a Cagnazzo-like entity which punches enemies repeatedly while yelling 'Ora, ora, ora' like the Star Platinum stand from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.

10 things you might not know about the origins of Easter

The AHRC-funded research project Easter E.g. explores some of the misconceptions of Easter as well as the animals that have come to be associated with the festival. The research team based across the University of Exeter, the University of Oxford, the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham, comprises a wide range of experts across disciplines from anthropology, zoo archaeology, to art history and religious studies.

Find out more on our image gallery below.

Principal investigator, Naomi Sykes at the University of Exeter said: &ldquoWe hope our research encourages people to discover things they may not know about the origins of our Easter customs. From giving eggs as gifts to pictures of chicks and bunnies, our Easter symbols can reveal fascinating insights about animal populations in the UK and the evolution of human traditions.&rdquo

For more information on the project visit:

Contrary to popular belief, the Easter bunny hasn't always been associated with Easter.

Depiction of the Venerable Bede (CLVIIIv) from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.

Pagan goddess, Ēostre or Ostara. Courtesy of Eduard Ade.

Picture courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives.

The title page of von Franckenau's 1862, 'De Ovis Paschalibvs' - the oldest record of the Easter bunny.

An almost complete skeleton of one of the earliest brown hares from the Iron Age.

A depiction from ancient Mesopotamia.

Portrait of Henry VII of England (1457-1509). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

It's said that Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans back to Spain before it was introduced in Britain.

Watch the video: This Was The Biggest Murder Trial In History (August 2022).