Russian Opening Statement

On Feb. 8, 1946, the case presented by the Soviet Prosecution began and continued with several interruptions until March 4, 1946. The opening statement was delivered by the chief Soviet Prosecutor General Roman Rudenko.  Before a crowded courtroom, Rudenko began by stating; “For the first time in the history of mankind is justice confronted with crimes committed on so vast a scale, with crimes which have entailed such grave consequences. It is the first time that criminals who have seized an entire state and made this state an instrument of their monstrous crimes appear before a court of justice. It is also for the first time that , by judging these defendants, we sit in judgment only of the defendants themselves, but also on the criminal institutions and organization which they created and on the inhuman theories and ideas which they promulgated….”

Produced by US Army Signal Corps 1945-1956, housed in National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Digitized and provided by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive.