Nuremberg that is called the Treasury of German Empire is the second large city of Bavaria. In 19th century, it was the center of German industrial revolution. In the 20th century, after World War Two, it was lying in ruins. It took years to raise once very rich and flourishing city from the ruins. The process began with a landmark event – the first in the history of mankind court trial for crimes against peace, which received name Nuremberg Trial.
Half a year after the capitulation of Third Reich, on November 20, 1945, the famous court trial judging the crimes of those leaders of Nazi Germany who had survived began at hall No 600 of Nuremberg Court Palace. It was not by chance that this very city was chosen for this unprecedented court trial. It was in Nuremberg that the Nazi were holding the first congresses of their party and organizing mass parades.
Reference data. Nuremberg Trial is the international court trial for judging crimes of former leaders of Hitler’s Germany. It was held from 10 a.m. of November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946 at the premises of International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg (Germany).
Behind the court building which had to be renovated for the trial, there was a prison for 1,200 people. It was from this very prison that the first defendants were brought to the courtroom.
The prosecuting counsel and judges of Nuremberg trial that lasted for almost 11 months represented four states: the USSR, USA, United Kingdom, and France. Over several months, the countries, participants of the trial, could not come to the agreement with regard to adequate punishment for the leaders of the Third Reich and proceedings of the very court trial. US Attorney General and judge of the US Supreme Court, chief prosecutor representing the USA at the Nuremberg Trial Robert Jackson insisted on holding a genuine court trial with evidence collection, testimony from witnesses, incontrovertible proofs and preferment of charges, instead of Lynch law act disguised for a court trial. The whole process should go on within the bounds of law, Jackson insisted. The defendants were entitled to choosing defense lawyers. Those put to justice included 24 statesmen and military leaders of Nazi Germany.
“I am sure that we have an opportunity to sentence those who have believed that waging an aggressive and merciless war is quite safe.” Robert Jackson, 1945.
The International Military Tribunal was established in accordance with London agreement of 1945. The leaders of the Third Reich were indicted in deliberate committing of crime against peace, war crimes and the ones against humanity.
Media were invited to the court trial over the case of Nazi criminals. The sessions were recorded on photo and video cameras, while the hearings were translated simultaneously into four languages. Famous American film director John Ford, the only one in history to win four Oscar prizes for the best art direction, was responsible for video photography. From the archive recordings, one can see that the defendants behaved with assurance and would not show any signs of repentance. Hitler’s successor, the most top-ranking of Nazi officials in the hall Hermann Goering denied his guilt completely calling the Nuremberg Trial a stage performance organized by the winners of the war for those defeated.
Over 11 months, more than 400 court hearings were held. After the main Nuremberg Trial, numerous Subsequent Nuremberg trials were held with defendants being Nazi figures of lower status. On the whole, over 200 criminals were subject to punishment for mass murders during the years of dictatorship.
Following the result of the main Nuremberg Trial, 12 leaders of the Third Reich were sentenced to death by hanging: Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering, foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, one of the main Nazism ideologists Alfred Rosenberg and other criminals. Goering committed suicide several hours before the execution having taken potassium cyanide. The death sentences to other Nazi leaders were put into execution in the early morning of October 16, 1946. Ribbentrop was the first to be hanged. Three defendants were sentenced to prison for life, while others – to jail terms of 10 years minimum.
Over the period from 1947 to 1948, the Nuremberg trial over the case of physicians was held in Germany. It was the first in the row of subsequent Nuremberg trials. Officially, the court trial was called US vs. Karl Brandt (Karl Brandt was Adolf Hitler’s personal physician).
In his interview with Scientific Russia before, RAS academician, member of UNESCO Commission for Bioethics, head of hospital therapy department at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University Alexander CHUCHALIN has highlighted the relation of Nuremberg Trial to bioethics:
“What makes this court trial famous? It changed the following in human civilization. Before Nuremberg Trial, we lived in the conditions of the so-called paternalism, when people received commands with regard to surgical operations medical examination, etc. The Nuremberg Trial and Nuremberg Code, however, were based on the principle of voluntary informed consent. Let us discuss this notion in detail. What do we mean under word voluntary? We mean that no pressure is imposed to the person, no enforcement takes place. What does term informed consent stand for? The role of physician, not the recording clerk or a person who takes one’s clothes in the cloakroom, the function of physician lies in teach the patient, share this knowledge with them to persuade the patient to give their consent. If there is no such chain, the fundamental human right is actually violated. The patient should not sign the paper at once. They ought to consult their physician and ask the latter to explain to them as to what kind of document this piece of paper is, and what benefit they will derive signing it. It is the right that any patient enjoys. Moreover, if something is not clear to the patient, they should turn to the members of their family and make sense of what is suggested to them with them. It is a family decision. It is Alpha and Omega of the work that the World Medical Association performs. It is something fundamental, the thing that ought to be changed in the society. Put it shortly, it is the move away from paternalism and transition to voluntary informed consent.”
The Nuremberg Trial laid the foundation for the development of a new area in jurisprudence – international criminal law and justice, while the principles that the International Military Tribunal was based on were confirmed by the resolution of UN General Assembly dated December 11, 1946 as commonly recognized norms of the international law. Meanwhile, according to a survey by SuperJob for March 2021, half of Russian citizens (46%) at the age of 18-24 years know nothing about the Nuremberg Trial over Nazi criminals. In the category of people at the age of 25-34, such people accounted for 31% of respondents. Russian citizens at the age of 45 minimum have turned out to be the most informed about the Nuremberg Trial.
Very soon, the whole world will mark the 76th anniversary of victory over the fascist invaders. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of the Victory Day will still take place in Russia. On May 9, the residents of Moscow will be able to see the fly-past parade in the sky over the Russian capital. As for the Immortal Regiment memorial march, it is to be held online this year. On the same day, at 19:00 Moscow time, the broadcasts of all main television and radio channels will be interrupted for the Moment of Silence.
“The Defense Ministry is to organize the festive fireworks salute. Unfortunately, however, the festive fireworks show will be held this year only for the purpose of being broadcasted on television. All viewing sites will be closed, as the risk of getting infected becomes too high, when people gather in crowds,” Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin says in his message.
Source of photo on the homepage: https://ru.123rf.com