Jan Meisels Allen
The Center for Human Rights and International Justicein the Hague has given Stanford University permission to digitize the Nuremberg Trial archives. Evenutally, 250,000 pages will be accessible online.
It’s 75 years since the Nuremberg Trial closed –Octobeber 1, 1946, where a group of convicted Nazi leaders was sentenced by the International Military Tribunal (IMT) for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during World War II and the Holocaust.
For the past seven years, Stanford Libraries has been working with the Registry of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to obtain a complete digital corpus of the Nuremberg Trial in support of the Virtual Tribunal of the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice.
“This additional collection, to be known as the Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg, will allow the public to easily browse and discover the contents of over 5,000 trial records – including 250,000 pages of digitized paper documents – showing in meticulous detail the efforts of the IMT, a group of representatives from four Allied countries – the U.S., the U.K., the Soviet Union and France – who were tasked with prosecuting former officials of the Third Reich and holding them accountable for the horrific acts inflicted during World War II and the Holocaust.”
Included in the archive are firsthand accounts from the few who survived the Nazi concentration camps, including for example Marie-Claude Vaillant Couturier, a member of the French Resistance who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. She describes in great detail what she and many others had to endure: starvation, slave labor, beatings, epidemics and extreme cold – as well the daily trauma of witnessing thousands sent to gas chambers, never to return, among many other cruelties. Vaillant Couturier later became a French politician.
There are also transcripts of eyewitness accounts, including that of Hermann Gräbe, a construction manager who described the horrors of a mass execution he saw in Dubno, Ukraine. Gräbe painfully recounts how he saw a grave of over a thousand bodies, some of whom were “still moving.”
Users will be able to explore digital surrogates of trial records, including transcripts of the court hearings in English, French, German and Russian; case files; trial briefs; evidentiary exhibits filed by the prosecution and the defense; opening and closing statements; final pleas; procedural rules, orders, judgments, dissenting opinions and sentences. At a later date, more multimedia – such as film, audio recordings, photographs – will be added to the collection.
In January 2021, the IAJGS Records Access Alert reported on the War Crimes Nuremberg Trial Recordings available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.See: The collection consists of 1,942 gramophone discs holding 775 hours of hearings and 37 reels of film used as evidence in the trials.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee