Southern Illinois University School of Law–Legal Globalization & Comparative Law 2014

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Nuremberg

After leaving Munich, we traveled to Nuremburg. We were in awe of the architecture in Munich, but in Nuremburg, we felt as if we had taken a step back in time. The middle of the city is called Alt Stadt, meaning old city. As we walked through the cobblestone streets, we marveled at the buildings, which had been there for hundreds of years. Although around 90% of the city was destroyed during World War II, the city was rebuilt the way it looked prior to the war. At the top of the hill at the end of the alt stadt, was a massive castle. Although the architecture of Nuremburg was spectacular, the most interesting part of our visit was the site where the Nuremburg Trials were conducted. It was quite an experience to be in the same courtroom where some of the most awful war criminals were tried. These men were given a fair trial even though they promoted a system of justice that was anything but fair. The courthouse had been turned into a museum, although the actual courtroom is still functional. It was changed back to its original form after the trials concluded. This ad hoc court was the beginning of worldwide justice for war crimes and other crimes against humanity. As we walked through the museum we got a closer look at the people involved from the defendants to the translators and witnesses to the prosecuting attorney. These hearings paved the way for the International Criminal Court, which we will visit later in the week. After visiting the Nuremburg Trials, we had the opportunity to visit rock cut beer cellars under the city. These were extremely interesting because they were built hundreds of years ago to store beer. Hundreds of years ago, people drank beer more often then water because it was not as strong and much more sanitary than the water. During World War II, these cellars were used as a bomb shelter. This would be the safest place to be during a raid. It was a bit eerie being in these caverns because one could start to think of the pressure from above and the possibility of it caving in. However, these caverns were one of the safest places in the city. The next morning we visited the Nazi Rally Grounds. Before the visit, I did not know exactly what the grounds were, or what they were used for. We discovered that a celebration (kind of like a state fair) took place on these grounds for 8 days each year. Each day of the celebration was dedicated to a different part of the Nazi movement, from the children to high-ranking officers. The museum on the grounds showed Hitler’s plan to develop Nazi strongholds in cities throughout the country. Nuremburg would be a model for these other cities including Munich and Berlin.

~BT

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