Robert H. Jackson Center

Nuremberg Days 1-10

Day 1: Indictments

Promptly at 10 am on Nov. 20, 1945, the marshal announced the imminent entry of the members of the Tribunal. The President of the Tribunal, Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence, read a simple and moving statement that reflected the genuine tone and atmosphere of the Trial. After his brief remarks, he called for the reading of the Indictments.

Day 2: Justice Robert H. Jackson's Opening Statement

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, appointed by President Truman to serve as United States Chief of Counsel to prosecute Nazi war criminals, delivers his opening statement to the four-nation International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg on November 21, 1945. Here are five segments of Jackson's speech, which is deemed a forensic masterpiece: (1) at the call of IMT President Lord Geoffrey Lawrence (UK), Jackson begins; defense attorneys sit in the background; (2) Jackson speaks, assisted by his secretary Elsie Douglas and his son and executive assistant, attorney William E. Jackson; the camera pans across the defense attorneys and then the 21 defendants; (3) as Jackson continues, the camera pans across UK chief prosecutor Hartley Shawcross and deputy David Maxwell Fyfe and then to the 8 judges on the bench, including U.S. judge Francis Biddle and U.S. alternate judge John J. Parker; (4) Jackson speaks and the defendants listen; (5) Jackson addresses the imperfection but sufficiency of the case that prosecutors will present.

Day 3: The Nazi Party

The International Military Tribunal established to hear evidence against 21 of the leading Nazis commenced in Nuremberg Germany on November 20, 1945. On the 3rd day, Col. Robert Story made initial statements regarding the methodology of gathering and presenting evidence. An excerpt shows Ralph Albrecht introducing the complex structure and organization of the Nazi Party and government apparatus. He is followed by Major Frank Wallis who was responsible for the submission of evidence against the "Nazi Conspirators."

Day 6: Aggressive War

The International Military Tribunal established to hear evidence against 21 of the leading Nazis commenced in Nuremberg Germany on November 20, 1945. On the 6th day of the Trial (Nov. 27, 1945), Mr. Sidney Alderman began the presentation of evidence on the planning, initiating and waging of aggressive war (Count One). In this excerpt he displays charts showing the Nazi taking of Czechoslovakia. He then reads from a paper written by General Jodl entitled "Strategic Position in the Beginning of the 5th year of the War" delivered to German Reich and Gauleiters in Munich on Nov. 7, 1943.

Day 6: Dr. Siemers

On November 27, 1945, Dr. Walter Siemers, counsel to defendant Erich Raeder, objected to the use of interrogations of witnesses or defendants in which he was not present.This excerpt, in German, argues the issue of pre-trial interrogation. President Judge Lawrence ruled that is copies of the transcript of interrogations were used, copies should be furnished to the defense counsel. The Tribunal further ruled that if the Defense wished to submit evidence gained from interrogation of a defendant, then the defendant must be placed on the witness stand.

Day 8: Concentration Camp Film

On Nov. 29, 1945, the eighth day of the Trial, there was a dramatic change in the nature of the presentation of the Prosecution: a film on the Nazi concentration camps. Associate Prosecutor James Donovan introduced the film. Some observers thought it was perhaps the most powerful and moving evidence of the Trial. The graphic portrayal aroused strong emotions in the defendants' dock. The film was compiled from motion pictures taken by Allied military photographers as the Allied armies in the West liberated the areas in which these camps were located. The narration was taken from the military photographer's notes.

Day 9: Lahousen

Former German General Erwin Lahousen was one of the few survivors of the small German group which plotted an unsuccessful assassination of Hitler in July 1944. On Nov. 30, 1945 Lahousen testified as the first live witness in the Trial . He was questioned by Colonel John Harlan marshall, chief of the Interrogation Section of the American Prosecution. His testimony gained great attention given his rank as a section chief of the German Abwehr of the Armed Forces under Admiral Canaris and the fact he had Canaris' diary. Goering was incensed.
This untranslated excerpt shows his direct testimony handled by Amen, Judge Biddle and Judge Rudenko. Also, a cross examination by German defense counsel.

Day 9: Hess

The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg conducted a Hearing on Nov. 30, 1945 to review evidence regarding Rudolf Hess' competence to stand trial. Towards the end of the Hearing and to the surprise of all in the Courtroom, Hess made a statement that would have far-reaching consequences. Here is the declaration in German.

Day 9: Hess at Nuremberg, Admitting He Faked Loss of Memory

November 30, 1945, hearing before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg. Attorney Von Rohrscheidt, representing Hess, applies to suspend proceedings because of Hess's loss of memory and inability to plead. The IMT president, Lord Geoffrey Lawrence (UK), questions. Argument by the chief U.S. prosecutor, Justice Robert H. Jackson. Hess then speaks, admitting that he falsely claimed amnesia, including to his counsel, for tactical reasons, and that henceforth his comprehension will be unimpaired.