Meg Kribble

Scanning Nuremberg: IMT prosecution documents on persecution of the Jews, Germanization, and NSDAP Leadership Corps

Post by Matt Seccombe, November 3, 2018

During October I covered the IMT prosecution documents on the persecution of the Jews (a phrase that the prosecutors noted was far short of the reality), Germanization, and the first material on the Leadership Corps of the NSDAP [National Socialist German Workers Party], amounting to 157 documents and 663 pages of material. The prosecution detoured from counts 3 and 4 (war crimes and crimes against humanity) to the criminal organizations without any explanation, and will detour back to the plundering of artworks before moving on to the next organization (the Cabinet). For the IMT generally, we now have just over 1200 documents analyzed.

Documentary surpluses and deficits: When the Nuremberg trials staff sorted out the sets of documents for distribution, the folders on the Leadership Corps sent to HLS included a bonus: an extra copy of the trial indictment and an extra copy of the brief on the Corps. What HLS did not receive was a copy of the first document book on the Corps (the other document books are present). All things considered, I would have traded in the duplicates for that document book.

The extermination of the Jews: While official secrecy was maintained, within the regime the extermination of the Jews became explicit policy quickly, both as a military measure and as an end in itself. In Poland Hans Frank was concise: “We must annihilate the Jews.” By June 1943, one report noted that the “special treatment” of the Jews “requires no further discussion,” but some of the tactics were shocking to some people in the regime, such as the removal of dental gold from Jewish prisoners. Also, locking suspected partisan families inside barns and burning them alive “is not worthy of the German cause and hurts our reputation severely.” One paradoxical point in the report was that the atrocities were so extreme that if news of them got out, people “simply would not be ready to believe it.” Finally, in August 1944, Adolf Eichmann matter-of-factly summed up what the SS had done in a talk with a colleague, who recorded it in an affidavit: Four million Jews in the death camps, two million by the einsatzgruppen and similar actions; six million dead.

Germanization: This program had two sides, one to render the occupied territories useful to Germany and the second to gather in all Europeans of “Germanic blood” to the homeland. Frank stated the first task regarding Poland: “Poland shall be treated as a colony, the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire.” Himmler summed up the latter task in 1940: “to create an order of good blood.”

Hitler’s feast: The prize possession of the empire, of course, was to be the Soviet territory. In July 1941 Hitler assumed the military conquest would be swift, and he outlined for his generals a plan to dominate, administer, and exploit the resources, natural and human. What remained, he said, was “the task of cutting up the giant cake according to our needs.”

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

BOO: Haunted HLS Library tours coming soon!

Tour the Library’s haunted history of wraiths, witches, and wicked works in this exciting Halloween-themed experience. The tour will include local legal history, Harvard history, HLS alumni cases, and a selection of some of the creepier items in our Historical and Special Collections presented by the Manager of HLSL Historical and Special Collections. All tour guests will receive a spooky souvenir.

Tours last about an hour. Spaces are limited–please register at the links below.

Tuesday, October 30 at 12:00pm
Wednesday, October 31 at 12:00pm
Wednesday, October 31 at 4:00pm
Wednesday, October 31 at 5:00pm

 

Scanning Nuremberg: Ring of Silence

Post by Matt Seccombe, October 2, 2018

During September I worked through the final IMT prosecution documents covering count 2 (aggression), including the war against the US, and began the documents for counts 3 and 4 (war crimes and crimes against humanity, which were presented together), skipping forced labor (those documents are missing from our set), covering the concentration camp system, and the beginning of the persecution and extermination of the Jews (about which, more next month). The document analysis covered 88 documents and 601 pages of material. A lot of “overhead” time was required to track the documents in the transcript and get the relevant files identified and sorted out.

War against the US: Germany’s declaration of war on 11 December 1941 attributed the war to acts of aggression by the US navy, presumably in the course of the US effort to assist Britain. There was no mention of Japan or the events of December 7. Privately, however, Hitler expressed his approval to the Japanese a few days later: “one should strike—as hard as possible, indeed—and not waste time declaring war.” The Germans continued to press Japan to adopt a strategy that would help Germany: to attack the USSR from the east, which would indirectly lead to a British collapse and the isolation of the US. (The US and Britain engaged in similar strategic triangulation late in the war, urging the USSR to attack Japan, which it did at the end of the war.)

Evidence from the camps: The US prosecutor presented one particularly vivid exhibit from Buchenwald, as recorded in the transcript: “This exhibit, which is on the table, is a human head with the skull removed, shrunken, stuffed, and preserved. The Nazis had one of their many victims decapitated, after having had him hanged apparently for fraternizing with a German woman, and fashioned this terrible ornament from his head.”

The ring of silence: In the Justice Case (NMT 3) some defendants claimed that they had no knowledge of crimes committed in SS camps because the SS surrounded them with a “steel ring of silence.” This began at Dachau in 1933, where the commandant’s regulations provided that “agitators” would be hung. Agitators included anyone who “collects true or false information about the concentration camp . . ., receives such information, buries it, talks about it to others, smuggles it out of the camp . . . conceals it in clothing or other articles, throws stones and other objects over the camp wall containing such informations . . . [or] seeks contact with the outside by giving light or other signals . . . .” The punishment reflects the brutality of the regime, but the list of prohibited actions also suggests the determination and ingenuity of the inmates who tried to break through the secrecy.

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

HLS faculty and students: join us for Notes & Comment!

Student in the Reading RoomOn Tuesday, October 30, from 2:30-5pm, the normally quiet* tables of the HLS Library Reading Room will become collaboration zones for student-faculty interaction on scholarly topics during Notes & Comment: Connecting Students and Faculty on Scholarship. Faculty will be available to meet with students seeking guidance on their research and writing for publication — including student Notes in HLS journals, writing competitions, and other extra-curricular publishing opportunities.

Faculty members will be available to advise you on the scholarship process and discuss your ideas and outlines during one-on-one and small group meetings in the Library Reading Room with a food and drinks networking reception. The reception begins at 2:30 and the advising at 3pm.

New for this edition of N&C: you can also opt in in for a mini-research consult with a librarian during the event.

Please let us know you’re coming at http://bit.ly/hlslnc4 so that the event coordinators can plan appropriate student-faculty partnerships in advance. We will schedule partnerships based on signup time, so it is to your advantage to sign up early. Advance registration will be available through October 22.

Banned Books Week Events at HLS

We’re expanding our Banned Books Week activities this year, and we look forward to celebrating our freedom to read with you!

Most Challenged Books of 2017 Exhibit
Yes, books are still having their places in libraries and on school reading lists challenged every year. Visit the exhibit case between Langdell and Areeda Halls to see what the most challenged books of 2017 were. You might be surprised!

Banned Books & Censorship Exhibit
The issue of banning books ties into other forms of censorship. Visit our bulletin board by the library entrance for some questions and reports on recent anti-free press actions, current issues in free speech, the big censorship stories of 2017, and private actors and free speech. Plus learn about some of the many organizations fighting censorship that you can get involved with!

3rd Annual Read-Out
Tuesday, September 25
Library steps
Bring your lunch and join us in reading aloud passages from some of our favorite banned books. Are you part of the HLS community and want to join the reading roster? Please email Meg Kribble and we’ll addd you to the list!

A talk with James Tager, HLS ’13, PEN America
Friday, September  28
WCC 1010
Co-sponsors: the HLS ACS and the Harvard Federalist Society

Last but not least, we’re so excited to welcome James Tager, HLS ’13, back to campus. James is Deputy Director, Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, and he’ll speak about contemporary issues related to banning books.

No RSVP necessary; lunch is available first come, first served!

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite banned book? Share it with us in the comments!

 

 

Scanning Nuremberg: “When Barbarossa commences, the world will hold its breath and make no comment.”

Post by Matt Seccombe, September 7, 2018

During August I continued with the IMT prosecution documents for Crimes against Peace (Count 2), following the expansion of the war after the attack on Poland and the beginning of the war with Britain and France. This covered, in succession, the Nazi attacks on Norway and Denmark; Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg; Yugoslavia and Greece; and the Soviet Union. (The files on the war with the United States will complete the set.) This covered 116 documents and 472 pages of material. (A water leak in the building required the removal of the documents for safekeeping for two days, reducing production somewhat.) Count 2 covers the outbreak of the war; the crimes committed during the war will be covered by Counts 3 and 4, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Inconvenient timing: In January 1940, while Germany was proclaiming its respect for neutral countries, a German plane had to make a forced landing in Belgium, and one document found in the plane was a set of orders stating details of the planned occupation of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern France. Hitler had been more candid in a conference in August 1939: “Generally speaking, the best thing to happen would be for the neutrals to be liquidated one after the other.”

Guarding the flanks: One common element in the German attacks in the north, west, and south was a need to block British attacks from the North Sea, the Channel, and the Mediterranean. In the planning conferences, Britain was the opponent that Hitler took most seriously. (He considered the USSR to be vast but weak and the US too distant to be a serious threat.) By similar logic, Hitler wanted to threaten his enemies on their flanks, including calls for Japan to attack the USSR and the British Empire in Asia. One consequence of these multiple occupations was that the German military ended up being spread thin over several fronts.

Barbarossa: Hitler explained the rationale for the invasion of the USSR concisely in June 1941, citing Germany’s need for oil and other resources: “What one does not have, but needs, one must conquer.” His prediction for the world’s reaction, made in February 1941: “When Barbarossa commences, the world will hold its breath and make no comment.” His planners made another prediction for the results of the German occupation: “many millions of people [in Russia] will be starved to death.”

The tale of page 62: One of the most important prosecution documents was a speech General Jodl made in 1943 on the background and progress of the war. The full text was entered, and various extracts were also presented to note particular issues. In the primary text, however, page 62 is missing; 307 documents further along, a one-page extract carried a hanger-on: page 62. This raised the question of what to do with the page. From an historian’s point of view I was inclined to move the page to where it should have been, thus providing a complete text of the speech. From an archival point of view, however, the page had been placed with the extract in a separate file in 1945 and had arrived at HLS in that file. The accidental misplacement had become a “fact.” Outcome: page 62 remains where it was, in the second document with the extract, with cross-references between the two documents in the database.

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

Kavanaugh confirmation hearing transcripts

Looking for transcripts of the Senate Judiciary hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court? Here’s how to find them:

  • Log in to your Lexis Advance account and type CQ Transcriptions in the main search bar
  • On the next screen, type in kavanaugh w/s “Senate Judiciary committee hearing”
  • You can then sort the results oldest-newest or newest to oldest. Note the first two days’ worth of material aren’t labelled with their day numbers, but they are labelled with the dates they took place.

If you don’t have access to Lexis, CSPAN provides some basic captioning of their videos. Here’s are their results for the Kavanaugh hearings.

For more on the Kavanaugh nomination, check out the Supreme Court Nominations Research Guide from our friends at the Georgetown Law Library.

HLS students: Invitation to Love Your Library Fest!

HLS Students: we invite you to join us for the 14th annual Love Your Library Fest on Friday, September 21. Drop by anytime between 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. to learn more about your new library!

At Library Fest you will:

  • Learn about library services that students love
  • Get the scoop on cool tools from our Library Innovation Lab
  • Tell us how to improve our spaces
  • See unique items from our Historical & Special Collections
  • Meet our legal information vendors and staff from other Harvard libraries

Library Fest Heart by Alethea Jones

Art by Alethea Jones

Visit three or more stations to get a free movie ticket (HLS students only; one ticket per student) and for each station you visit, get an entry into our raffle for a Taste of New England gift basket (two each for JD and LLM/SJD students)–with a bonus raffle entry if you visit all stations!

In addition to the grand prizes, there will be candy, treats, and some fun HLSL swag!

Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there!

Zotero: unlimited storage for HLS students + trainings!

Did you know that as an HLS student you can get free unlimited storage in Zotero? It’s true: simply follow the signup directions on the Harvard Library Zotero guide, being sure to use your HLS email address to register.

If you’d like more guidance getting started, come to one of our upcoming training sessions led by Jennifer Allison, Librarian for Foreign, Comparative, & International Law. Sign up at the links below:

Friday, September 28 – 12:30pm
Monday, October 1 – 12:30pm
Thursday, October 4 – 5:30pm
Thursday, October 11 – 12:30pm

We especially recommend these trainings to LLM and SJD students, because citation management tools can be a big help in organizing your research for both short and long papers. All trainings will take place in the Library computer lab, 2nd (main) floor, Langdell 233.

For more information about citation tools at Harvard, check out the Harvard Library guide, Citation and Research Management Tools at Harvard.

Scanning Nuremberg: Teamwork and more updates from June and July analysis

Post by Matt Seccombe, August 9, 2018

During June and July I worked on the prosecution case under count 2 of the indictment, crimes against peace (or, wars of aggression), amounting to 196 documents and 1584 pages of material. The case includes the British prosecutor’s opening address on aggression, a review of the treaties Germany had signed and then violated, the planning (conspiracy) and execution (aggression) of the conquests of Czechoslovakia and Austria, and a detailed record of Germany’s conflict with Poland, ending with the war against Poland, England, and France in September 1939. The rest of the count 2 files will cover the later fronts in the war.

Teamwork: The IMT prosecution was a four-nation effort, which caused some complications. The US had a head start and led the research and analysis, but needed to share the presentation of the case with Britain, France, and USSR. While the US presented the case on count 1 (conspiracy or common plan), the British managed count 2, with the other nations contributing particular portions of the evidence. The transition was complicated, and one long-winded American prosecutor took some of the drama out of the British prosecutor’s opening address by failing to complete his own presentation first; the Briton’s speech became an interlude between the opening and closing parts of the American’s argument. Staff memos indicate that some US prosecutors were upset when they had to turn over their work to another team to present their arguments and evidence in court; they were told to swallow their pride. One British prosecutor eased the situation by carefully recognizing his American colleague’s “collaboration.”

Munich Two?: The sixth folder of evidence regarding Poland covers the flurry of diplomatic activity in August 1939 by Britain, Poland, and Germany on the question of a negotiated settlement of the German-Polish conflict over Danzig and other “Germanic” portions of Poland. On paper, at least, Germany was willing to negotiate, with the incentive that a negotiated settlement would avoid a war with Britain (Britain and France had both pledged to side with Poland if it were attacked). If Hitler secured Danzig and pledged that the issue was settled, as he had in Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain could repeat “Peace in our time.” In the event, the diplomatic gestures simply allowed Germany to claim it had tried to negotiate, pointing to the voluminous paper trail, and present its invasion of Poland as a defensive measure.

Savoring victory: After orchestrating the German occupation of Austria in March 1938, including dictating the message that the Austrian Nazis were to send to Berlin seeking rescue and the cover story that everything was done by the Austrians’ initiative, Goering filled in Ribbentrop in a long phone exchange that was recorded and transcribed. At the end of the conversation he lapsed into a reverie, spell-bound by his own triumph: “Blue sky. I am sitting here on my balcony, all covered in blankets, in the fresh air, drinking my coffee. . . . and the birds are twittering, and here and there I can hear over the radio the enthusiasm [in Austria], which must [be] wonderful over there.”

The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts. 

We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding.  For more information about this project, please contact Jocelyn Kennedy.

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