Judgment at Nuremberg

December 19, 1961: U.S. premiere of the film “Judgment at Nuremberg” directed and produced by Stanley Kramer, with a script by Abby Mann and music by Ernest Gold, the native of Austria who moved to the U.S. after the Anschluss because his paternal grandfather was Jewish.

Some historical details about the Nuremberg Trials:  the International Military Tribunal was opened on November 19, 1945, in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.  The first session was presided over by the Soviet judge, Nikitchenko. The prosecution entered indictments against 24 major war criminals and seven organizations – the leadership of the Nazi party, the Reich Cabinet, the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the Gestapo, the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the “General Staff and High Command”, comprising several categories of senior military officers.  These organizations were to be declared “criminal” if found guilty.

The indictments were for:

  1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
  2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
  3. War crimes
  4. Crimes against humanity

Some 200 German war crimes defendants were tried at Nuremberg, and 1,600 others were tried under the traditional channels of military justice. The legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court was that defined by the Instrument of Surrender of Germany. Political authority for Germany had been transferred to the Allied Control Council which, having sovereign power over Germany, could choose to punish violations of international law and the laws of war. Because the court was limited to violations of the laws of war, it did not have jurisdiction over crimes that took place before the outbreak of war on September 1, 1939.

I submit for your review a couple of stamps related to the Nuremberg trials:

A 2002 United States issue honoring Marguerite Higgins, a journalist who covered the trials, and

A 2015 Russian issue honoring Roman Rudenko, the Soviet Chief Prosecutor at the main trial of the major Nazi war criminals.

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