nuremberg, 75 years later

another anniversary - 75 years ago, on november 20, 1945, the most famous international trial of high-ranking criminals of the third reich. those who were taken alive were tried. of the 24 accused, 12 were sentenced to hanging, seven to various terms of imprisonment, and three were acquitted. herman goering committed suicide, the owner of the krupp corporation was declared terminally ill.

most tourists come to nuremberg to stroll the streets of the old town, sit in restaurants on the central square or visit the house-museum of the outstanding artist albrecht dürer.

the fact that i am an atypical tourist became clear even at the railway station. when, not the first time, i was able to ask passers-by how to get to the dokumentationszentrum reichsparteitagsgelände - the document center (document center), the congress center (kongresshalle) of nazism and the building of the nuremberg tribunal. germans under 40 were perplexed by my questions.

they don't really know (and don't want to know) that in 1934, adolf hitler commissioned the chief architect of the third reich, albert speer, to design a new 11 square kilometer party congress complex in a pseudo-antique style. the so-called luitpold arena was intended for holding the pathetic party congresses of the nsdap, and the square in front of it was for the solemn processions of the nazis.

today it is just an abandoned, unattractive building on the river bank, where almost no one walks. there are no tourists in the documentary center (dokumentationszentrum in nürnberg), which is adjacent to the building of the party conventions. mainly german schoolchildren are brought here to show them exhibits, located on 1300 square meters, which reflect the entire history of fascism in stages. from colorful party rallies with beer and dancing, pogroms and parades to the results of nazi ideology - concentration camps in all their horror.

but my purpose in coming to nuremberg was not the palace of hitler's congresses and not the document center, although there is something to see and rethink. for many years, i dreamed of visiting hall 600 of the nuremberg palace of justice and feeling the atmosphere of this difficult place.

i'll tell you right away that getting there is not easy. today it is an ordinary “district” court. in the hall where in 1945-1946. tried nazi criminals, listen to mediocre civil suits on weekdays. on sunday, the germans are traditionally closed. therefore, the only day when tourists are guaranteed to be allowed into hall 600 is saturday.

but not even everyone who arrived on saturday manages to go inside. the visit is limited by the number of people and by the time - no more than half an hour. i slipped in the tail of the english tourist group. the guide said that the hall, at the request of the american administration, was seriously rebuilt specifically for the trial of the nazis. in particular, there they made a special transition to the adjacent prison building, where the defendants were kept, and then executed. there is still a functioning women's prison there.

hall 600 has special monitors and binoculars. these are almost time machines that can be directed to any point and see who was sitting on a particular bench, how he behaved, how he looked. the defendants, by the way, seemed well-fed and well-groomed. the judges were dressed in different ways: soviet uniforms, western robes. the faces of the lawyers showed that they were working here.

i listened a little to the speeches of the american and british prosecutors (i remember the speech of the soviet prosecutor roman rudenko from documentary newsreels). apparently, they felt relief from the suicide of adolf hitler, officially confirmed, by the way, only by november 1, 1945, by heinrich himmler and joseph goebbels. and they were also not very sad that the escaped heinrich müller and martin bormann were absent from the dock. bormann was sentenced to be hanged in absentia.

in general, it seems to me that the european and american justice system was not eager to conduct an international trial of the fascists. if the soviet union had not pushed them to this and the world jewish lobby had not pushed them, there would have been no process of the century.

few people know that back in the spring of 1942, under the leadership of prosecutor andrei vyshinsky and with the participation of jurist aron trainin, an "extraordinary state commission for the establishment and investigation of the atrocities of the german fascist invaders" was created, the purpose of which was the international legal assessment of the prospects for recovering reparations for the damage caused by the nazis.

note that there were still three difficult years before the victory. no one knew exactly what the outcome of the war would be. nevertheless, soviet lawyers under the official leadership of nikolai shvernik and under the de facto vyshinsky were already working on documenting the crimes of the nazis. and by 1944, 19 local commissions were created in the liberated territories of the ussr.

i must say that in the west the topic of the upcoming investigation was also raised. on january 13, 1942, representatives of nine occupied countries of europe - belgium, czechoslovakia, greece, luxembourg, the netherlands, norway, poland, yugoslavia and france - held a conference in london, where they touched upon the punishment of the nazis.

on october 20, 1943, at the initiative of the american minister harry hopkins, a "un commission on war crimes" (unwcc) was created in london from representatives of 17 states, which began collecting and comparing information about the war crimes themselves and their participants ... but representatives of the ussr were not included in the unwcc. and the unwcc activity itself was formal.

the moscow conference of foreign ministers, held at the end of october 1943, was a significant step in clarifying the key issues of unwcc activities. after the conference, great britain, the ussr and the united states issued a joint declaration, both condemning the atrocities of the nazis in occupied europe, and stating that war criminals must be severely punished.

at the same time, there was an opposite idea - the execution of the leaders of the third reich on the spot. she had many supporters at the time, including us secretary of state cordell hall. in war conditions, this would be the simplest solution to the problem.

but then we would not have had that holistic generalization of the crimes of fascism, which was given by the nuremberg trial. the trial, which took place in four languages ​​and lasted 316 days, left more than 40 volumes of transcripts and evidence behind.

in addition, the international military tribunal (mwt), which consisted of eight judges representing four countries of the anti-hitler coalition, for the first time erased the ideological differences between the ussr and the former entente countries - the united states, great britain and france. that was also important.

for reference. the ussr was represented by major general of justice iona nikitchenko and colonel of justice aleksandr volchkov; usa - attorney general francis biddle and judge john parker; great britain - judges jeffrey lawrence and norman birket; france - professor henri donnedier de vabre and judge robert falco (ukrainian by origin).

the indictment is highly symbolic. in short, it had four sections: crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, violation of the laws of war and conspiracy to commit these criminal acts. for the first time in history, cruelty during the war began to be assessed in terms of acceptable or excessive.

преодолев множество разногласий, судьи мвт к 1 октября 1946 года смогли сформировать общую позицию по конкретным приговорам и вынести консолидированное решение. такого консенсуса между западом и советским блоком с тех пор уже не было.

исполнение приговора (повешение) проводилось через две недели после вынесения вердикта в тюремном спортзале. вечером 15 октября 1946 года началась установка трех виселиц. в 20:00 в тюрьму были доставлены восемь журналистов, по два представителя от каждой страны. от ссср присутствовали журналист тасс борис афанасьев и фотокорреспондент виктор темин. около сотни журналистов собрались в отдельном зале для прессы в самом здании суда.

примерно в 22:45 из нижнего коридора послышались крики – тюремный охранник обнаружил самоубийство германа геринга. из всех подсудимых на процессе он был самой крупной птицей – главнокомандующий люфтваффе, один из наиболее влиятельных людей в нацистской германии. согласно декрету от 29 июня 1941 года он официально являлся преемником фюрера. правда, 23 апреля 1945 года гитлер в агонии лишил геринга всех званий и должностей и исключил из партии. его повешение должно было украсить передовицы всех мировых газет. но кто-то пронес рейхсмаршалу яд в камеру.

без четверти полночь оставшихся десятерых осужденных на смерть разбудили и сообщили о казни. около часа ночи государственные обвинители с переводчиком зачитали каждому смертный приговор. затем в порядке предъявления обвинения по очереди вывели из камер. американский сержант джон вудз с двумя помощниками привел приговоры в исполнение: повешения начались в 1:11 и закончились к 2:45. представители ссср в непосредственном осуществлении казни не участвовали. в истории немецкого фашизма была поставлена точка.

место прокуроров

монитор как машина времени

тут всегда много туристов

тюрьма для нацистов

флаги стран победителей во дворе суда

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