UConn HomeBanner

Bruce M. Stave & Michele Palmer with Leslie Frank Present:

Witnesses to Nuremberg

An oral History of American Participants at the War Crimes Trials


Twayne Publishers;
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Macmillan
New York

Prentice Hall International
London, Mexico City, New Delhi, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto


Cover design by Judy Kahn
Cover photo: Lieutenant William Jackson, the journalist Walter Lippman and Mrs. Lippman survey the destruction of Nuremberg.
Courtesy the Thomas J. Dodd Papers, Archives and Special Collections Department, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries. Used with permission.
Printed in the U.S.A.

To the Memory of those for whom justice was sought at Nuremberg and to those who helped to bring it about.


The Second World War was a cataclysmic event that directly affected millions of people. By contrast, the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1949), which sought justice for the victims of Nazi war crimes, had a profound effect upon history but involved only a small number of direct participants. Although the trials were shown on newsreels and chronicled in the papers and on radio, for many they remained a distant affair to a society preoccupied with rebuilding shattered lives, communities, and economies.

Witnesses to Nuremberg: An Oral History of American Participants at the War Crimes Trials brings this historic event into focus on a very personal level. Oral historians Bruce M. Stave and Michele Palmer, with the assistance of Leslie Frank, have conducted a series of interviews with Americans who were involved in the trials and through eleven compelling oral histories get behind the scenes to recreate the American community at Nuremberg. These first person accounts humanize history as readers share the experiences of American prosecutors, security personnel, journalists, and even the architect who designed the courtroom. Since the interviewees represent average people and not the "stars" of Nuremberg, their voices speak directly to the reader in terms that a modern audience can understand.

This approach sets Witnesses to Nuremberg apart from other literature about the trials. Stave and Palmer do not concentrate on justifying the concept of postwar war crimes trials or the legal technicalities of the prosecution and defense; instead they offer the distinctly personal views of those who w ere there and their impressions of the atmosphere, details, and personalities of the trials. The authors seek to capture the "Nuremberg experience," from living in a bombed-out city, to rebuilding the courtroom, to the everyday lives of the participants.

This volume allows us to come face-to-face with the Nazi defendants, learn about interactions with ordinary German citizens, and reflect upon the meaning of justice in the post-World War II world. Suitable for the classroom as well as the general reader, this volume recreates a historic reckoning that the world can ill afford to forget.

The book includes 11 edited interviews. All 30 interviews are available through the reference desk of the Thomas J. Dodd research center at the University of Connecticut.


University of Connecticut         Special Collections at the Dodd Center Oral History Office
Whetten Graduate Center
438 Whitney Avenue Ext, U-1132

Tel: (860)486-5245