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

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The Nuremberg Trials

The Nurnberg Trials: The courthouse where the Nurnberg Trials were held is actually a functioning courthouse, I was surprised by that.  The courtroom itself was not in use when we visited, but I think even that courtroom was still available for state use.  I had just thought that this courthouse would stand like the Dachau memorial, a big monument to remind us of what happened so that we may never let it happen again. Instead, I found something that was very practically being used as it was intended to be used in the first place, to try criminals.  The museum itself was a bit overbearing.  We did the audio tour and there was just too much information that they made available, I felt like I could have spent four or five days there listening to the device and I still would not have heard everything.  I didn’t know there was that much you could say about a few trials and a building.  I liked that they had a lot of video from the trial easily accessible from computer stations throughout the museum, and I especially liked that I was able to watch Mr. Justice Jacksons opening and closing statements in their entirety, they were incredibly moving.  The museum also had a lot of information on arguments posited by both sides and one from the Nazi side that I actually thought was a pretty good argument, that the court had no jurisdiction, as it was a newly made court, and it hit me that the court was in a sense trying the Nazis based on something that seemed almost retroactive.  They had obviously done terrible things, but why did this specific court have the ability to try them. They raised good points. It was hard to envision a way in which the Nazi party leaders would have gotten off, gone free, but it was still interesting to learn about what was done legally to defend them.

~LL

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