International Law • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Scanning Nuremberg: the role of staff officers

Post by Matt Seccombe, March 2, 2016

Scanning Nuremberg 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 February, I completed the documents for one defendant in the Hostages Case, Foertsch, and most of the documents for another, von Geitner. These amounted to 193 documents and 895 pages of material. Both defendants were staff officers rather than commanding officers, which was a major point for them and a key distinction for the tribunal, but staff officers still had an overview of events and also a major responsibility that was relevant in the trial: preparing reports to be sent to the military high command.

How to wage a dirty war: The defendants uniformly claimed that they wished to establish an orderly occupation of Yugoslavia by honorable and legal means, but the papers have more candid moments. The general perception was that the religious and ethnic history of the region made it, as one affidavit noted, “this witches’ kettel and chaos.” Hence the Hitler/Keitel order for massive reprisal killings in cases of resistance. General Loehr, when briefed about food supplies, commented, “a starving population loses its appetite for rebellion.”

Who’s who: The single hardest part of Nuremberg document analysis is identifying authors with incomplete, ambiguous, and contradictory information, of which there is an abundance. We have the case of Christoph von Auer, clearly identified in an affidavit, and “W. Auer (?),” a queried name in a wartime document. They held the same position, at the same place, at the same time, and I am 90% sure they were the same person. Ninety percent is not 100%, however, so in the relevant documents I kept the two names distinct as separate authors, and added a Note indicating the likely connection between the two. In contrast is the good German name Wolfgang Cartellieri—spelled three different ways. There was enough information to establish that there was only one person (and multiple typos), so only one name is listed. Speaking of names, one key source of evidence had a name so long that it broke the database, exceeding the space allotted for names: Friedrich-Ferdinand, Prinz du Schleswig-Holstein-Gluecksberg.

Creative writing: Chief staff officers were required to prepare the frequent reports that their commanding generals sent to army and military headquarters. Headquarters expected to receive reports on reprisal actions following guerrilla attacks and sabotage, according to the Hitler/Keitel order, and of course the Nuremberg prosecutors submitted these reports as evidence. Some of the defendants argue (fairly persuasively) that some of those reports were crafted to satisfy headquarters that reprisal killings had been conducted when in fact they hadn’t, or had been much less than the 100 to 1 ratio ordered for attacks on Germans. In one document these were mentioned as “Fictitious shootings.” The officers in the field did not object to reprisals morally, since the tactic was standard doctrine for an occupying army in hostile territory, but they often noted that killing civilians outraged the local population rather than pacified it, and sometimes there were not enough civilian hostages on hand to meet the quota. One tactic was to count partisans killed in battle as reprisal killings in order to meet the target without killing civilians; another was to report a German killed in a guerrilla attack (which would call for 100 reprisal killings) as a battle casualty instead; a third was simply not to report many sabotage episodes, forestalling the issue. We might call these “fictitious reports.”

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.

The Harvard Law School commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1949)


Robert Jackson, Opening Statement, November 21, 1945 U. S. Army Signal Corps, photographer Nuremberg Trial photograph collection VIA Record ID: olvwork373967

Robert Jackson, Opening Statement, November 21, 1945
U. S. Army Signal Corps, photographer
Nuremberg Trial photograph collection
VIA Record ID: olvwork373967

The first Nuremberg trial began on November 20, 1945.  The final trial ended in April 1949.  In the intervening time approximately 200 high ranking Nazi leaders were prosecuted for crimes committed during the World War II. The military tribunals created to conduct the trials sought to carry out criminal charges unprecedented in scope and complexity.  As  U.S. chief of counsel Robert H. Jackson said in his opening statement, “The wrongs we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated”.   The Nuremberg trials provided the basis for the modern law of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and a model for recent international prosecutions for such crimes.

The Library has created a webpage, The Nuremberg Trials at 70, dedicated to the trials themselves and the Library’s extensive collection on trial related material. This site highlights both circulating and non-circulating material as well as additional resources located across the United States.  There is also a section that reviews Harvard’s connections to the trials (many Law School graduates served on the prosecution team) plus a timeline for the trials. A physical exhibit has also been installed in the case located just outside the Library’s Areeda Hall entrance. It features books and DVDs from the circulating collection, plus examples of manuscript material from various collections. The exhibit will be on display until the end of February.

852 : RARE – After the Bastille was Stormed

On July 14, 1789 French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, a prison that served as a symbol of the unjust treatment of the French citizenry by the monarchy, thus sparking the French Revolution. King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were dethroned during the revolution, tried and found guilty of treason, and executed by way of the guillotine.

Historical & Special Collections (HSC) holds many volumes relating to Louis XVI’s trial for those researchers interested in the ultimate demise of France’s last monarch.

Le Procès de Louis XVI, ou, Collection complette des opinions, discours et mémoires des membres de la Convention nationale, sur les crimes de Louis XVI, ouvrage enrichi des diverses pìeces justificatives ... (Hollis 004040555)

Le Procès de Louis XVI, ou, Collection complette des opinions, discours et mémoires des membres de la Convention nationale, sur les crimes de Louis XVI, ouvrage enrichi des diverses pìeces justificatives … (Hollis 004040555)

Proces de Louis XVI...

[Procès de Louis XVI, ci-devant roi des francais, imprimé par ordre de la convention nationale.] (Hollis 004390413)








One volume, The Trial at Large of Louis XVI. Late King of France. Containing a Most Complete and Authentic Narrative of every Interesting and Important Circumstance Attending the Accusation — Trial, Defence, Sentence — Execution, &c. of this Unfortunate Monarch. (Hollis 004039665) is available online through Making of Modern Law, Trials 1600-1926. HSC has contributed a number of titles to this online resource, which is available to users with a Harvard ID and PIN. Included in this text is King Louis XVI’s defense of his fleeing Paris with his family – the primary impetus of the treason charge. He writes “….the motives which induced me to quit Paris: – They were, the threats and outrages committed again[s]t my family and my[s]elf, and which have been circulated in different publications; and all the[s]e in[s]ults have remained unpuni[s]hed.  I thence thought it was neither [s]afe nor proper for me to remain any longer in Paris; but, in quitting the capital, I never had an intention of going out of the kingdom (pg. 20).” The account of Marie Antoinette’s trial (Hollis 013967138) is also available through Making of Modern Law.

First page of Opinion de Huet de Guerville sur le procès de Louis XVI. (Hollis 004390530)

First page of Opinion de Huet de Guerville sur le procès de Louis XVI. (Hollis 004390530)

Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of King Louis XVI's lawyers in his treason trial. (olvwork_188663)

Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of King Louis XVI’s lawyers in his treason trial. (olvwork_188663)













Researchers interested in this historical moment can also find two portraits of Chertien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, one of the lawyers to King Louis XVI during his treason trial, in HSC’s visual collections and made available on VIA. Malesherbes came out of retirement in order to defend the King, whom he had served in his younger years. Despite being generally well-liked and respected, Malesherbes also met the same demise as the King and Queen, beheaded at the guillotine in 1794.

New eResources at Harvard

The Harvard Library has an astounding amount of resources, with new titles coming in every day!  For help efficiently navigating it all, make a time to meet with a librarian or contact the Reference Desk.

New resources at Harvard

American Indian Histories and Cultures

Manuscripts, artwork and rare printed books dating from the earliest contact with European settlers; with treaties, speeches and diaries, andd travel journals.

Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online 

Jonson’s complete writings;  and comprehensive body of essays and archives necessary for full study of Jonson’s life.

Digital Innovation South Africa

Scholarly resource focusing on the socio-political history of South Africa, particularly the struggle for freedom during the period  from 1950 to the first democratic elections in 1994.

Gallup Analytics     

Data from countries representing 98% of the world’s population; access Gallup’s U.S. Daily tracking and World Poll data to compare residents’ responses on topics such as economic conditions and education.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance

Authoritative information on theatre and performance from ancient Greek theatre to the latest developments in London, Paris, New York, and around the globe; covers dance, opera, radio, film, television, and popular performance.

Oxford Handbooks Online / Music 

Scholarly books (online) contain essays written by the foremost scholars in music.

Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management 

Strategic management is an emerging field with loosely defined concepts and boundaries; this encyclopedia seeks to give the field some definition.

Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing Archive [PEP]

An archive of the entire psychoanalytic literature in English, along with foreign and international journals.

SRDS (Kantar Media)

Circulation data and advertising rates for U.S. publications; market demographics and lifestyle market analysis – with info on attitudes toward sports, travel and leisure.

852 RARE: A Little Something for Everyone

Small gems are often hidden within large collections and this summer we were lucky enough to come across just such a gem– a slender volume bound in limp vellum with faded Spanish manuscript scrawled across the front. It surprised and delighted us and seemed to have “something for everyone.”  The outer binding alone is intriguing to look at, the front covered with just barely legible manuscript in Spanish, and the covers neatly fastened with tiny beaded toggles. Upon opening it, one is immediately dazzled by the gleaming floral “Dutch gilt”paper pastedowns and endpapers.

Front cover

Toggle closure & back cover

Dutch gilt paper lining the front opening

The 52-page text, Exámen sucinto sobre los antiguos límites de la Acadia y sobre las estipulaciones del Tratado de Utrecht relativas à ellos is a Spanish translation of the 1755 French work Discussion sommaire sur les anciennes limites de l’Acadie … and the two are printed in side-by-side columns.  This anonymous work is generally attributed to Mathieu François Pidanzat de Mairobert (1727-1779), a member of a French literary society who wrote on a wide variety of topics.

Title page with manuscript commentary


Following the provisions of the multi-faceted Treaty of Utrecht  in 1713 France ceded Acadia (most of modern-day Nova Scotia) to Great Britain, but relations between the two nations remained uneasy –as Mairobert’s treatise attests.  Under the printed title of this copy, a note in Spanish points out that the dispute over Acadia was ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris and also mentions the secret November 1762 Treaty of Fontainebleau in which France ceded Louisiana to Spain. 

Finally, folded at the end of this slim volume, is an intriguing map of eastern North America showing historical claims to Acadia and the eastern portion of present-day New Brunswick from 1621 to 1750, referred to in Mairobert’s text. The title Mapa de una parte de la America Septentrional uses the old term “septentrional” meaning “of the north.”  This term is derived from an ancient reference to the seven stars of the Big Dipper, used by navigators to find the North Star, and subsequently the name for North America that appears on many early maps. 

Map at the end, unfolded, showing Acadia

New Guide to Free Legal Research Resources

Free! by klabusta

Creative Commons Photo by klabusta

While many legal researchers spend much of their time using expensive subscription databases, an ever increasing amount of legal research information is freely available online. This is particularly true for government documents as many governments around the world, including the U.S. government begin to place a higher priority on making legislative documents freely available to citizens. But, it is also true of secondary sources, local government documents, international law materials and data sets.

The Library has prepared a new research guide that highlights some of the best and most useful freely available resources in each of these areas. Whether you are a graduating student who is looking for free resources to continue your research at your new job or are just looking for government information from any source, this guide will show you where to find information without using an expensive database. Check back frequently, because we will add more resources on an ongoing basis to keep the guide up-to-date on the best free legal resources on the internet.

852 RARE: The Monthly Special – A favorite digital collection

Over the years, Historical & Special Collections has taken on many digitization projects – from early studies of Roman law, to our collection of legal portraits, to the papers of some of the Law School’s distinguished alumni.  One of my personal favorites is the Charles Claflin Davis Papers.  Davis attended both Harvard College and the Law School, graduating in 1910.  In the 1920s he became involved with the American Red Cross as Director of the Southwestern Base located in Constantinople.   There he worked with Russian refugee camps and spent time in the schools and orphanages.  His collection of papers, photographs and scrapbooks represents his time with the Red Cross in Constantinople and the gratitude expressed to him by the children in the camps.

A highlight of the collection is one scrapbook made by the Russian Towns Union Children’s Home No. 1.  The children created a beautiful scrapbook for Davis to thank him for his work.  Below is one of the pages:

A page from a scrapbook presented to Charles Claflin Davis by children in a Russian refugee camp. From The Charles Claflin Davis Papers, 1917-1923. Scrapbooks, box 6. Sequence number 711.

There are also some haunting photos of the refugee camps, such as this one that depicts a view of a Russian refugee camp showing men lying on the ground and lines of laundry hanging overhead. The camp sits outside the Dolma Bagtche palace in Constantinople, Turkey.

From the Charles Claflin Davis Papers, 1917-1923. Box 1. olvwork438394.

852 RARE: The Weekly Special – Manuscript collections now open for research

In an effort to get more manuscript collections out of the backlog and available to researchers, the staff in Historical & Special Collections have been busy over the last six months organizing and describing nine new Modern Manuscript collections.  Spanning both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these collections cover a variety of topics including an account of the Nuremberg trials from an unusual perspective, and an early Massachusetts court case involving Harvard and a bridge across the Charles river.  For those fans of the classic Harvard Law School tale, The Paper Chase, we also have a collection of the author’s drafts now available. We are grateful to Amelia Wilber, Janet Katz, and Ana Enriquez, colleagues who participated in the library’s 20% program and volunteered their time to work on these projects. The staff of Historical & Special Collections are grateful for their work.

Take a moment to see what these collections are all about!

1.       Joseph Goodbar Papers

2.       Papers relating to Mexican government debts held by Louis Hargous and George Hammeken, 1840-1881

3.       Papers relating to John Jay Osborn’s books: The Paper chase; The Only thing I’ve done wrong; and The Associates. 1971-1978 (inclusive).

4.       Jule E. Stocker, “Draft of the book, “Drawing Will”

5.       Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge. Records, 1828

6.       E. Merrick Dodd Papers

7.       Ingeborg Kalnoky collection of Nuremberg Guest House papers

8.       Class notes of Irvin Bieser

9.       Class notes of Leo Gottlieb


Post contributed by Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives

Legal Research Week: September 23 – September 29

Get your legal research on.  Always wanted to know how to find administrative or legislative documents?  Have you ever been stumped when looking for SEC filings or international and comparative materials?  Are you writing a paper and you need to organize your citations?  Or are you completely disorganized and need to learn software to help organize your life?  If you answered “yes” to any of the above then why not take a peek below at one of the eight classes taught during Legal Research Week: Friday September 23 – Thursday September 29.

Sign up here:


Refworks Training and Intro to Endnote

Writing a paper? Then why not make your life a little easier by signing up for a Refworks workshop. In this workshop, a librarian will help you set up a Refworks account, show you how to import references,as well as give you a brief overview of Endnote.

Location: Computer Lab

Friday 9/23, 12:00 – 12:30

Contact: George Taoultsides,


Finding and Mining SEC Filings

Friday 9/23, 3:00 to 3:30 pm

Location: A524 (Library 5th Floor)

Come learn how to find and mine SEC filings to commit acts of good and evil, whether it’s helping take a companypublic (S-1) or co-opting M&A agreements.

Contact: Lisa Junghahn,


Refworks Training and Intro to Endnote

Writing a paper? Then why not make your life a little easier by signing up for a Refworks workshop. In this workshop, a librarian will help you set up a Refworks account, show you how to import references, as well as give you a brief overview of Endnote.

Location: Computer Lab

Saturday 9/24, 11:00 – 11:30

Contact: George Taoultsides,


Federal Legislative History Research

Learn about the best online and print resources that will help you find federal legislative documents and help you compile federal legislative histories. Contact: George Taoultsides,

Location: Computer Lab

Saturday 9/24, 10:00-10:30

Contact: George Taoultsides,


Administrative Law Research

Monday 9/26, 12:30 to 1:00 pm

Location: L403 (Library 4th Floor – Reference Desk)

Follow the agency rule promulgation process; find and update regulations; find administrative decisions; and navigate agency websites for links to the Code of Federal Regulation and Federal Register.

Contact: Lisa Junghahn,


International & Comparative Quickie Research

Description: Interested in International & Comparative Law? Attend a quickie training designed to help you find relevant books, articles, and other materials.

Tuesday 9/27, 12:15-12:45pm

Location: L403 – next to the reference desk

Contact: Carli Spina,


HBS Style Company & Industry Research

Wednesday 9/28 12:30 to 1:00 pm

Location: A524 (Library 5th Floor)

Come learn how to find information on public companies and their industries.

Contact: Lisa Junghahn,


Evernote for Law Students

Evernote is an online tool that can be used to take and share notes, make your photos fully text-searchable and save websites and other documents.  This class will focus on how law students can make use of Evernote and its related applications for coursework, networking and collaboration.

Wednesday 9/28, 2-3pm

Location: Areeda 524 – 5th floor of the library

Contact: Carli Spina,


852 RARE: The Weekly Special – HLSL’s Nuremberg Trials Project Grows

Justice Robert H. Jackson delivers his opening statement at the Nuremberg Trials, 1945 November 22. olvgroup12379.

The Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections is a repository for many manuscripts collections relating to the Nuremberg Military Tribunals.  You can find the finding aids for the personal papers of several prosecutors from the trials, such as Leonard Wheeler, Jr, Belle Mayer Zeck, and Joseph M. Stone in OASIS.  However, perhaps most impressively, the 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).

In 2003, the library undertook the task of digitizing the records from all twelve trials and launched the Nuremberg Trials Project by presenting documents from and relating to the Medical Case, which was Case 1 of the NMT trials. The Medical Case (U.S.A. v. Karl Brandt et al., also known as the Doctors’ Trial) was held in 1946-1947 and involved 23 defendants accused of organizing and participating in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the form of harmful or fatal medical experiments and other medical procedures inflicted on both civilians and prisoners of war.

Now, the library is pleased to present the digitized documents from trials two and four, as well.  NMT 2 (U.S.A. v. Erhard Milch) took place in 1946-1947. Milch was indicted on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecution presented 161 written exhibits and 3 witnesses. The defense presented 51 written exhibits, 30 witnesses, and testimony by Milch himself. NMT 4 (U.S.A. v. Pohl et al.) took place in 1947. Chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (Wirtschafts und Verwaltungshauptant, WVHA), Oswald Pohl and seventeen other WVHA official were charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in a criminal organization. The crimes occurred between 1942 and 1945 in WVHA-managed concentration camps and labor camps of the SS, where up to 10,000,000 individuals were imprisoned.

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