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April 25, 1986 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36 Friday, April 25, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR YOUI

LOOKING BACK

Nuremberg

Continued from preceding page

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tempts to challenge the credi-
bility of prosecution witnes-
ses were vigorous and at
times admirable, given the
overwhelming weight of the
evidence presented against
them. Captain Otto Kranz-
bueler, Doenitz's counsel,
was considered especially
brilliant in his courtroom
work.
Another example of the
way in which the justices at
Nuremberg tried to be even-
handed was their decision to
exclude blanket condemna-
tion of all Nazi activities. At
one point, for example, it was
decided to prosecute anyone
who had served in Hitler's
cabinet. This was to be taken
as ipso facto evidence of
culpability in the crimes of
Nazi Germany.
However, this line of prose-.
cution was abandoned when
the .court learned that the
Nazi cabinet had not met in
a real sense after 1937, and
that being a minister even in
the war period did not neces-
sarily mean personal involve-
ment in a cabinet portfolio.
Nazi crimes were planned by
a small coterie of Hitler's in-
ner circle although they were
committed by an ever widen-
ing circle of Nazi execution-
ers.
The tribunal realized that
being a member of the gov-
ernment did not automatical-
ly imply guilt. Those put On
trial, however, were there be-
cause of concrete evidence of
their participation in a con-
spiracy to commit aggressive
war, war crimes, and crimes
against humanity.
One of the great ironies of
the trial and of the Nazis' role
was that the latter had them-
selves assembled the vast
majority of documents which
were used to convickmost of
them.
The Nazis' mania for disci-
plined record keeping and
punctiliousness in statistical
matters produced a body of
incriminating evidence so
damning that once it was in-
troduced at Nuremberg; it be-
came clear that many of the
defendants had signed their
own death warrants.
It is estimated that the
Allies collected 485 tons of
written documentation bear-
ing on the conduct of the.Se-
cond World War. The docu-
ments included official orders
signed by some of the ac-
cused, minutes of meetings at
which aggressive war was
plotted, reports of the hated
Einsatzgruppen detailing
massacres of Jews and, in the
case of Hans Frank, an
11,000-page diary in which
the governor-general of Nazi-
occupied Poland detailed his
brutal administration of that
country.
During the examination
and testimony of Hermann
Goering, some of the docu-
ments entered in evidence

against the former Reichs-
marshal proved to be embar-
rassingly. inadequate. Goer-
ing's responses to Justice
Jackson on at least two occa-
sions show that the defen-
dants had complete freedom
to present their case. In fact,
Goering humiliated Jackson
by clearly pointing out that
documents alleging his parti-
cipation in the Council for the
Defense of the Reich showed
that another Council was be-
ing referred to in the relevant
document and that, further-
more, it had never been con-
vened.
On another occasion, Goer-
ing demolished Jackson when
the latter linked Goering's

I

The Allies collected
about 485 tons
of written
documentation
about the
second World
War.

name to a document which
purported to order the "liber-
ation of the Rhineland."
Goering haughtily pointed
out that the original German
referred to "cleansing," not
liberation, and was directed
at the dredging of the Rhine
river.
Goering did not fare quite
so well with British prosecu-
tor Maxirell-Fyfe, who had
done his homework meticu-
lously. He established Goer-
ing's connection through a
mass of documents to the
murder of allied servicemen,
the violation of Holland and
Belgium and atrocities com-
mitted against partisans, and
the extermination of Euro-
pean Jewry.
None of the observers at
the trial had any doubts
about .Goering's intelligence -
and presence of mind. His
jousting with Jackson and
ate; the Russian prosecutor,
Roman Rudenko, show, that
he had the opportunity to de-
fend himself and he did so
with panache.
Ann and John Tusa quOte
The Times' reaction to Goer-
ing: "If nothing but his sub-
tlety and powers of reasoning
were involved, Goering would
leave the box a far bigger fig-
ure than'when he.entered it."
The Tusas add, "nut it went
without saying that Goer-
ing's deeds were on trial, not
his personality. The concern
of the court was not with his
strength of character but the
strength of the evidence
which supported or rebutted
the allegations against him." •
Much of the evidence

h



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