Bruce M. Stave & Michele
Palmer with Leslie Frank Present:
Witnesses to Nuremberg
An oral History of American Participants at
the War Crimes Trials
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Macmillan
Prentice Hall International
London, Mexico City, New Delhi, Singapore, Sydney,
Cover design by Judy Kahn
Cover photo: Lieutenant William Jackson, the journalist
Walter Lippman and Mrs. Lippman survey the destruction
Courtesy the Thomas J. Dodd Papers, Archives and
Special Collections Department, Thomas J. Dodd Research
Center, University of Connecticut Libraries. Used
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