Faculty Channel • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Scanning Nuremberg: analyzing the prosecution documents in the Einsatzgruppen trial (NMT 9)

Post by Matt Seccombe, August 14, 2017

The Scanning Nuremberg series shares the observations and insights of Matt Seccombe, Nuremberg Trials Project Metadata Manager/Document Analyst, as he analyzes documents for digitization as part of the HLS Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project website

During July I completed the analysis of the prosecution documents in the Einsatzgruppen trial (NMT 9), amounting to 155 documents and 1070 pages of material, including document books, briefs against individual defendants, and the closing argument. Some time was spent enriching the analysis of the previous documents (analyzed in June) with information about two trial issues that were not identified in the indictment but that emerged from the evidence: the execution of the mentally ill, and the taking and killing of hostages.

The Ghost Order: Both prosecution and defense refer incessantly to the “Fuehrer Order,” which was Hitler’s order in mid-1941 to exterminate the Jews of eastern Europe as part of the war against the USSR. The prosecution emphasized this because it established what the Einsatzgruppen did: mass murder. The defendants emphasized it because it supported their argument that they had acted on a direct order from their commander in a war (the “superior orders” defense). However, no one entered a copy of this order in evidence, and it seems that no official record of it exists. Hitler apparently gave it in person to his senior military and SS commanders, who passed it along to the generals and the einsatz commanders. Meanwhile in July 1941 Goering ordered Heydrich to prepare “a complete solution of the Jewish question.”

The Order and disorder: As the campaign proceeded, the application of the order was chaotic, as the einsatz commanders executed an order that German administrators in the area did not comprehend. One administrator reported: SS security police arrived and announced “the liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Sluzk, within two days.” Jews and some non-Jews were seized, beaten, and shot. The population was frightened, and the security police looted the place. “In the future, keep this police battalion away from me by all means.”

Dissent and obedience: One einsatz commander, Strauch, faced criticism from a German officer that the extermination program “was unworthy of a German man and of the Germany of Kant and Goethe.” Strauch replied that “I did nothing but fulfill my duty” and complained about “having to perform this nasty job.” (The executioners often expressed this sort of self-pity.)

Hostages: This operation was not highlighted in the indictment but was familiar from the Hostage Case (NMT 7), set mainly in the Balkans, where the orders were a slightly modified version of those in the Soviet campaign, so the same pattern emerged. Einsatzgruppe D reported: “Hostages are taken in each new place, and they are executed on the slightest pretext.”

A Soviet interpretation: Since nearly all of the einsatz crimes were committed in places the USSR had occupied, the Soviets had evidence to offer from their own investigations, and two reports appeared in Case 9. They were extensive and detailed but had some particular qualities. The phrasing was lurid: “German fascist monsters [or “usurpers”],” and “Hitlerite hordes.” All the victims were identified as simply “peaceful Soviet citizens,” rather than Jews or Gypsies. And there was a particular charge about the Germans’ “butchery of Polish officers in the Katyn forest” and their “heinous fabrications of experienced falsifiers” trying to pin the blame on the Soviets.  (Of course, the massacre and the fabrication were both committed by the Soviets.)

More about the Nuremberg Trials Project:

Matt Seccombe’s work on the NMT 9 of the Nuremberg Trials Project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo

 

 

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 Kim Dulin.

HLS’s favorite fictional lawyers (a non-scientific survey!)

Post-it with fictional lawyer namesJust for fun, we asked those entering the HLS Library who their favorite fictional lawyers are. Because we asked via a bulletin board display and those who answered did so by adding a post-it note to the display, this was a completely non-scientific poll. But we always enjoy seeing the results. Here’s a summary:

First, the fictional HLS alums. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many fictional lawyers are HLS graduates. Favorites in our poll were Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder, Olivia Pope from Scandal, Harvey Specter from Suits, and Elle Woods from Legally Blonde with 3 votes each. Miranda Hobbes of Sex and the City, Louis Litt from Suits, and Ally McBeal each received 2 votes. The West Wing’s Ainsley Hayes, the notorious Professor Kingsfield of The Paper Chase, and Rafael Barba from Law & Order: SVU got one vote each.

Leading the field overall were with four votes each were Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird, Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart in The Good Wife, Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Alan Shore from Boston Legal.

Alan Shore’s life partner, Denny “two combustible words” Crane was among those receiving 3 votes along with Perry Mason, Matt Murdock aka Marvel’s Daredevil, and Jessica Pearson from Suits.

Receiving 2 votes each were Lionel Hutz of The Simpsons, Bob Loblaw of Arrested Development, Jack McCoy of Law & Order, Mike Ross of Suits and Elsbeth Tascioni of The Good Wife.

Rounding out the pool with one vote each were Rafael Barba of Law & Order: SVU, Fletcher Reede of Liar, Liar, Cleaver Greene of the Australian series Rake, Bartholemew Iz from the post-apocalyptic novel Fitzpatrick’s War, Lt Daniel Kafee of A Few Good Men, Romo Lampkin of  Battlestar Galactica, Maggie Lizer of Arrested Development, Benjamin Matlock, Foggy Nelson of  Marvel Comics, Commander Harmon Rabb of JAG, Chuck Rhoades of Billions, Eve Rothlo of How to Get Away with Murder, the doubly fictitious lawyer Dean Sanderson of The Grinder, Jefferson Smith aka Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Tom the lawyer from Cheers, the eponymous My Cousin Vinnie, 
Phoenix Wright of the Ace Attorney video game series, Vivian Kensington (post-dumping Warner) of Legally Blonde, and the entire firm of Wolfram & Hart from Angel.

Finally, honorable mention goes to Jean-Luc Picard–a starship captain, not a lawyer–who was nominated for his defense of his colleague and friend Data in Star Trek: the Next Generation. In case you missed it, Dean Martha Minow discussed the episode in question in her 2011 graduation speech.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote on the display version of this poll, feel free to tell us who your favorite fictional lawyer is in the comments!

852 RARE: Speak, Memory* – Law Student Study Aids, circa 1674

In our occasional series of posts about games in the HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections, we’ve covered playing cards describing notorious trials and educational flash cards for students of civil law. With exams around the corner, it’s a good time to shine a light on mnemonic devices – centuries-old techniques that aid in learning and retaining information in memory.

We have a beautiful first edition of Johannes Buno’s (1617-1697) work, Memoriale Codicis Iustinianei (1674). It features elaborate fold-out engravings, each corresponding to one of the books in Justinian’s Codex. The Codex is part of the Corpus Juris Civilis, the codification of Roman law ordered early in the 6th century AD by Emperor Justinian I.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), p. 58. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), p. 58. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Buno, an educator and theologian, distilled this massive trove of Roman law into a brief 83-page study aid. Taken together, the summaries and the engravings helped students master the contents of the Codex by combining fables, images, and letters. Buno called this the “Emblematische Lehrmethode,” or “Emblematic Teaching Method.” Let’s give it a try.

Here is the engraving that helped students master Book 9 of the Codes, which covers criminal law and procedure.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Engraving for Book 9, after p. 36. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Engraving for Book 9, after p. 36. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

A detail from Buno’s distillation of the text, Title 9.1, “Those who may not accuse,” (Qui accusare non possunt”) is shown here.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Beginning text for Book 9.1, p.37. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Beginning text for Book 9.1, p.37. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Presumably, a glance at the corresponding image in the upper left of the engraving, shown in detail here, would jog a student’s memory.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Engraving for Book 9, detail, after p. 36. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Johann Buno, Memoriale Codicis Justinianei (1674), Engraving for Book 9, detail, after p. 36. HOLLIS no. 4299003.

Or perhaps not. Things may have gotten lost in translation over time. At any rate, it is worth remembering that study aids for law students go back centuries, and that yesterday’s magnificently engraved book is today’s handwritten law student notebookelectronic casebook, or commercial outline. However you learn the law, good luck with your exams!

 

* with apologies to Vladimir Nabokov

 

 

 

 

 

Explore the spooky side of the HLS Library!

image of bats flyingGet an exclusive look at the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. death mask, the hairy hand, and other disturbing delights from the HLS Library’s Historical & Special Collections.

Learn about the role of Harvard and HLS alumni in the Salem Witch Trials, the Boston Molasses Flood, the sleepwalking defense, and the Sacco and Vanzetti trial.

Wander the spooky stacks hunting for ghosts and hope they don’t come hunting for you in return!

Sign up for a Haunted HLSL tour to learn about these creepy collections and more!

Monday, October 30, 12:10-12:50pm

Monday, October 30,  4:00-4:50pm

Monday, October 30, 5:00-5:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 12:10-12:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 4:00-4:50pm

Tuesday October 31, 5:00-5:50pm

 

Join us for Notes and Comment fall edition!

Student working in the Reading RoomOn Tuesday, November 7, from 3-5pm, the normally quiet* tables of the HLS Library Reading Room will become collaboration zones for student-faculty interaction on scholarly topics during Notes and Comment: An Event for Students and Faculty to Connect 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.

The event will be set up so that students can meet individually or in small groups with faculty members and librarians. “It’s sort of a collective office hours, where a referral from one faculty member to another can be as simple as walking two tables down in the Reading Room,” said Jonathan Zittrain, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources in his invitation to faculty.

We have already received commitments to attend from Professors Crespo, Frug, Goldberg, Kamali, Klarman, Lvovsky, Michelman, Wilkins, and others.

A networking reception with food and drink will also be available throughout the event in the Caspersen Room and Library staff will be on hand to showcase resources for scholarly publishing available to faculty and students.

Participants should RSVP so that the event coordinators can work to plan appropriate student-faculty partnerships in advance.

 

*Note that students looking for quiet study space during the event will be directed to the Reference Room.

NEW! HLS Library Bicentennial Exhibit Now On View

Collections | Connections  

Stories from the Harvard Law School Library

HLS Bicentennial Exhibit PosterThe Harvard Law School Library’s new exhibit celebrates HLS’s Bicentennial through the stories of some of the Library’s 2 million items and the people behind them. On view are historic photographs, striking rare books and early manuscripts, books published all over the world, fun glimpses of HLS Library history, and even an Awesome Box!

Collections | Connections documents the evolution of the Harvard Law School and its Library in response to the School’s evolving role in relation to society, legal education, and technology. Yet it is the people who make a place. Groups and individuals highlighted throughout this exhibit have cultivated the life and ethos of the Harvard Law School. Learn how the Library preserves this continuing story of the HLS community: faculty, students, alumni, and staff who are moved to question, prepared to reason, and called to act.

The exhibit is arranged around six themes: Keepers of Memory, Global Citizens, Promoting Justice, Supreme Court Clerks and their Justices, Library as Lab, and Preserving Legal Heritage. Curated by many members of the HLS Library, it is on view daily 9 to 5 in the Caspersen Room, fourth floor of Langdell Hall, through June 2018.

Join us to celebrate Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week is coming and we are excited! As librarians, the freedom to read is in our DNA. Every year scores of books have their places in libraries and schools challenged by would-be censors. We can’t stand that, but we can stand up for the freedom to read and you can join us!

Visit the HLS Library lobby during the week of September 25 for a display about local censors. “Banned in Boston” isn’t just a random expression; the New England Watch & Ward Society records in our own collection (digitized in 2010) contain lists of  books deemed “impure literature” and banned in Boston (and beyond) during the 20th century.

Read-Out with us, Tuesday, September 26 at 12:15, HLS Library steps 
Bring your lunch and join us on the steps of the library as members of the HLS community read excerpts from our favorite banned books. We’ll be reading from classic literature, children’s picture books, and everything in between! If you’re HLS faculty, student, or staff and would like to be a reader, please contact Meg Kribble and we’ll add you to the line-up!

All week on Instagram!
Follow our Instagram for photos of HLS faculty, staff, and students with our favorite banned books. Share your own banned book selfies with #hlslbannedbooks! Email Jane Kelly if you’d like to be featured.

Not sure if your favorite has been banned or challenged? Check out the American Library Association’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books for 2015 and ALA’s Banned & Challenged Classics.

Evidence in Ink

One of the pleasures of cataloging, especially of older books and manuscripts, is coming across unexpected traces of earlier times and lives. Scraps of an early manuscript liturgy or an almanac used in a binding; a series of former owners’ signatures vying for attention on a title page; enigmatic annotations in the margins; or even an eighteenth century butcher’s invoice used as a bookmark. All these are examples of evidence of the unique history contained in any single book or manuscript.

But a copy of at least one early canon law book in the collection—an exhaustive work on the Decretales of Pope Gregory IX printed in 1487-1488—bears evidence of a moment before it was even printed.  It also documents, perhaps, the momentary inattention of a worker in the busy Basel print shop of Johannes Amerbach.  Appearing at the bottom right corner of a page in part 1 is the unmistakable smudge of a fifteenth century ink ball.

Detail from part 1, leaf 2b3r of Niccolò,de’ Tudeschi’s Lectura super V libris Decretalium (Basel, Johannes Amerbach, 1488), copy 1 (Ad T256l 488 H12315), Harvard Law School Library.

In the era of hand-operated printing presses leather ink balls, stuffed with wool and attached to a handle, were used to evenly ink the plates prior to printing. It was hard, repetitive work.

By Jost Amman – “Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwercken und Händeln …”, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=207246

Of course, having an ink ball come in contact with paper was not standard procedure. Surely it must have been noticed at some point in the printing process. Perhaps the paper was too costly to discard or the pressure to move the job along was too strong. But whatever the reason, we now have a visible reminder of hand press era technology and a moment of distraction almost 530 years ago.

Happy birthday to us: Et Seq. is 10!

Et Seq., the Harvard Law School Library Blog, officially marks its 10th anniversary today!

Et Seq. in 2007

Et Seq. in 2007

Although the first blog post, Working on a paper? Need research help? was dated February 1, 2007, library staff at the time had been blogging privately to “exercise the blog and try to get a feel for how it might actually work ‘in the real world.'” (Note: If you ARE working on a paper and need research help in 2017, the method to do that is different now: simply fill out the form on our Ask a Librarian page.)

After the test period was deemed successful, Et Seq. was officially “released into cyberspace” on May 4, 2007. A Harvard Law School Library internal staff newsletter at the time proclaimed the moment “unquestionably a significant technological milestone.”

While historians have yet to agree with that assertion, we’re still proud of our blog. Over the years, we’ve brought you legal, library, and local news; updates and reviews of our library resources and services; 852 RARE, the series highlighting our Historical & Special Collections materials; a special series on our Ruhleben Camp collection; and posts about law and pop culture or holidays–and many other topics! We’ve switched blogging platforms once, and we also added social media to our arsenal of communications tools. (If you haven’t checked them out lately, have a look at our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.) At least 48 members of our staff, past and present, have posted to Et Seq.

In addition to our ten year milestone, we’re also hitting a post milestone today: this post is the lucky 1300th! We look forward to many more years of informing you about HLS Library news, events, resources, and services.

Happy birthday, Et Seq.!

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies

HeinOnline has a new product that will interest anyone–law students and faculty, historians, political scientists–researching presidential commissions or the catastrophes, crises, and issues they have investigated.

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies comprises an extensive listing of presidential advisory bodies from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama. Content includes more than 6000 database entries, 1200 links to full text documents, and cover hundreds of subjects including AIDS, bioethics, chemical warfare, immigration, nuclear weapons, and many more. Documents in the collection include congressional hearings, books, scholarly articles, and links to external content.

The database will be updated at least twice a year to add new commissions as well as newly discovered documents from past administrations.

Highlights of commissions included in the collection include:

  • President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Warren Commission)
  • President’s Commission on Campus Unrest
  • Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
  • Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident
  • Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Iraq Intelligence Commission)
  • National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission)
  • National Commission on the BP Deepwater

You can search the collection by keywords, president, commission subject, commission/author, and report title, as well as browse by president, commission name, commission subject, and report title.

For more information about using Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies, please check out the HeinOnline blog post or Ask a Librarian–we’ll be happy to help you get started on your research.

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