Documentary: From The Hague to Nuremberg

Abstract

In commemoration of the Nuremberg Trials, which were held exactly 70 years ago this November, our colleagues Candice Alihusain, Sophie Brinkel, Fé de Jonge and Anna Duszczyk, worked together on the documentary “From the Hague to Nuremberg.” Candice, Sophie and Fé worked on a screenplay for the documentary and travelled from The Hague to the city of Nuremberg to film relevant footage. This and other archival footage of the Nuremberg Trials and rare colour footage of the Nuremberg Rallies was used by Anna Duszczyk to complete the documentary during the post production of the film. The aim of the documentary is to provide viewers with the historical background of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg, and the context in which it was created. This Tribunal was set up in 1945, after the end of the Second World War, and it was the first international tribunal to prosecute individuals for crimes under international law. Multiple individuals who comprised the Nazi regime in Germany were brought before the Tribunal and convicted on the basis of international law. This unique Tribunal was located in the city of Nuremberg for reasons which are explained in the documentary. The documentary itself aims to give a chronological overview of the place, time and people and takes viewers back to the city of Nuremberg both before and after the Second World War.

By Fé de Jonge

In commemoration of the Nuremberg Trials, which were held exactly 70 years ago this November, our colleagues Candice Alihusain, Sophie Brinkel, Fé de Jonge and Anna Duszczyk, worked together on the documentary “From the Hague to Nuremberg.” Candice, Sophie and Fé worked on a screenplay for the documentary and travelled from The Hague to the city of Nuremberg to film relevant footage. This and other archival footage of the Nuremberg Trials and rare colour footage of the Nuremberg Rallies was used by Anna Duszczyk to complete the documentary during the post production of the film. The aim of the documentary is to provide viewers with the historical background of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg, and the context in which it was created. This Tribunal was set up in 1945, after the end of the Second World War, and it was the first international tribunal to prosecute individuals for crimes under international law. Multiple individuals who comprised the Nazi regime in Germany were brought before the Tribunal and convicted on the basis of international law. This unique Tribunal was located in the city of Nuremberg for reasons which are explained in the documentary. The documentary itself aims to give a chronological overview of the place, time and people and takes viewers back to the city of Nuremberg both before and after the Second World War.

Before the war, the city of Nuremberg played a crucial role in the dissemination and advancement of the Nazi ideology. Not only did the Nazi Party organize multiple party conventions in and around the city, the Party also erected several buildings and constructions to emphasize the grandeur of the Third Reich and the Nazi ideology. This assembly of buildings was called the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and the Congress Hall now houses the Documentation Centre. Here we spoke with dr. Martina Christmeier, a scientific researcher at the Documentation Centre, who informed us about both the Nazi Party conventions and the buildings which constitute the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.

The city of Nuremberg was bombed extensively during the Second World War by allied forces, because of the military production taking place there. Nevertheless, the Nuremberg Palace of Justice remained largely unscathed and became the seat of the International Military Tribunal. The Tribunal was set up by the allied forces, Great Britain, France, the USA and the Soviet Union to prosecute the leaders of the Nazi regime for four international crimes: conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Proceedings took place in the now famous Courtroom 600, and involved 22 defendants. The Memorium Nuremberg Trials is located at the Palace of Justice, and here we spoke to the Director of the Memorium,  Dr. Henrike Claussen, who told us about Courtroom 600, the trial itself and the defendants.

The proceedings before the International Military Tribunal not only engaged legal scholars and diplomatic representatives from all over the world, it also attracted the international press. Journalists from all corners of the globe came to Nuremberg to report on the trial. During their visit, they stayed at the grand Faber Castell Castle, where they slept, worked, drank, danced and conversed. The reports brought to the public by these journalists constituted an essential contribution to the perception of the trial, by both the German audience and the international community as a whole. At the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, we spoke about the impact of the trial and its contribution to modern international criminal law, with Bernd Borchardt, the founding director of the Academy, and Dr. Sigall Horovitz, who works for the Educational Department of the Academy and who is a specialist in international criminal law and transitional justice. The Academy, which provides courses on international criminal law, is named after the Nuremberg Principles of 1950 which were adopted after the trial and can be seen as the basis for modern international criminal law.

Indeed, the law and case law which was the result of the creation of the Tribunal have made an important contribution to the development of international law and opened the door to individual responsibility under international for the most severe crimes against humankind.