Germany commemorates the Nuremberg trials, birth certificate of international justice

Germany commemorates the Nuremberg trials, birth certificate of international justice

Long reluctant to examine its past, Germany commemorates the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Nuremberg trials on Friday, the birth certificate of international justice during which 21 Nazi dignitaries were tried.

Pandemic obliges, this ceremony will be held without public in the courtroom 600 of the tribunal, there same where were judged from November 20, 1945 Hermann Göring, former number 2 of the regime, Joachim von Ribbentrop or Rudolf Hess, former deputy Adolf Hitler.

The President of the Federal Republic, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a highly respected moral authority in Germany, will deliver a speech there in the early evening, in a context marked in Germany by a rise of the far right and anti-Semitism.

This ceremony marks the starting point of several events organized, most often online, on the occasion of this 75th anniversary, including the speaking on November 26 of artists on the meaning of this trial or the holding of round tables. historians.

On the dock, 75 years ago stood the most senior Nazi officials still alive after the suicides of Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler.

A Bavarian city largely destroyed by bombing, Nuremberg, located in the American occupation zone, was one of the symbols of Nazism where Hitler held large gatherings and where anti-Jewish laws were promulgated in 1935.

This trial, which opened barely six months after the end of hostilities and which lasted nearly a year, marked the birth of international justice, extended decades later by the creation of courts to try Rwandan genocidaires. or actors of the war in the former Yugoslavia, then by the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

The defendants, pleading “not guilty”, were to answer for conspiracy, war crimes, crimes against peace and, for the first time in history, crimes against humanity.

The projection of a film shot by the Allies and the testimonies of survivors of the Nazi camps reveal to the world the extent of the crimes of the Third Reich.

The verdict falls on October 1, 1946, twelve death sentences are pronounced.

New in its form, Nuremberg is not free from gray areas, like the Katyn massacre that the Soviet accusation tries in vain to attribute to the Nazis.

Nuremberg will be the site of twelve other trials of Nazi officials (doctors, ministers, soldiers …), even if it took the obstinacy of a new generation of prosecutors in the 1960s to initiate new prosecutions.

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