Sixty years ago this fall, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg handed down verdicts against Germany’s Nazi leaders for crimes committed during World War II. A colloquium Oct. 6-7 at BGSU will revisit those courtroom proceedings to examine their implications today.
Representing the disciplines of history, law, military science, international relations and political science, speakers will examine the “greatest trial in history” as well as discuss international law and justice today, particularly the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Iraqi Tribunal.
It was during the closing days of the war in 1945 that the Allied Forces agreed to hold an international tribunal to bring the Nazi leaders to justice. Defendants were charged with one or more of four criminal counts: crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity in the form of racial persecution, and conspiracy.
Already dead, Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels escaped punishment. Of 21 major defendants brought to trial, 10 were convicted and hanged on Oct. 16, 1946. Another committed suicide the day before he was to hang, and seven others were sentenced to prison. Three men were acquitted.
“The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and Its Policy Implications for Today” colloquium, expected to attract 200 scholars, practicing attorneys, students and others, is hosted by Bowling Green’s Graduate Program in Policy History, the BGSU Social Philosophy and Policy Center, the University of Toledo College of Law and the Robert H. Jackson Center of Jamestown, N.Y.
Among the scheduled speakers are:
• Nuremberg prosecutor Henry King, author of The Two Worlds of Albert Speer (1997), previous general counsel of the U.S. Foreign Economic Aid Program, and former chair of the international law and practice section of the American Bar Association. King is a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University;
• Michael Marrus, an internationally recognized University of Toronto historian and the author of The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial 1945-46: A Documentary History (1997);
• David M. Crane, former U.N. chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and current professor of law at Syracuse University;
• International human rights lawyer Curtis F.J. Doebbler, a professor of law at An-Najah National University in Palestine and an advisor to the defense team representing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the special court established by the United States in Iraq,
• Brenda J. Hollis of the Pearson Peacekeeping Center in Canada, a BGSU graduate who was senior trial attorney and chief of the Team Legal Office and Co-Council Section before the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
In addition, actor Bernard (Buddy) Elias, a first cousin of diarist Anne Frank, will host two dramatic presentations. Frank’s record of life in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam is arguably the most widely read literature of the Holocaust. During the program, the University's Women's Chorus, under the direction of Sandra Frey Stegman, will perform “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” The work, by Joel Hardyk, is five settings of poems written by children of the Terezin concentration camp. The first performance, sponsored by the BGeXperience program, is at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 and the second at 8 p.m. Oct. 6. Both presentations will be held in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union and are free and open to the public.
For the complete conference schedule and registration information, visit http://www.bgsu.edu/departments/history/nuremberg or call 2-2030. The registration deadline is Sept. 25.
The program is made possible in part by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and will be the occasion of the American Society of International Law Centennial Meeting. Dr. Don Rowney, history, an internationally known policy history scholar, is conference chair.