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Smoke ’em if you got ’em

“Most people know that the surviving leaders of the Third Reich were prosecuted at Nuremberg before an international military tribunal in 1945–1946, and that a substantial number of them, including the head of the Luftwaffe and the ‘second man in the Third Reich,’ Hermann Göring, the former foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Hans Frank, the Nazi ruler of Poland, were found guilty and condemned to death. Less well known are the twelve specialized trials that followed, of senior Nazi judges, industrialists, doctors, and others. And hardly any trace has remained in the public memory of the large number of trials held, mostly from 1946 to 1949, of the lower-level functionaries of the regime, including the personnel of the concentration and extermination camps. The British alone held 358 trials in their zone of occupied Germany, resulting in the conviction of 1,085 people, 240 of whom were condemned to death, with two hundred actually executed. American military tribunals conducted a lengthy series of 489 trials at the former concentration camp in Dachau, most of which concerned offenses that had no direct connection with events at the camp itself. Altogether, these American trials went on for three years, and resulted in the conviction of 1,416 lower-grade servants of the Third Reich. More than two thousand war criminals were tried in the French Zone, while the convention that offenders should be tried in the countries where they had held office under the Nazi regime resulted in a further series of trials in countries formerly occupied by the Germans, including Italy, Norway, and Poland, where over two thousand Germans were extradited and indicted between 1945 and 1949, including the former commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss.” – Richard J. Evans, “The Anatomy of Hell”

Published inPolitics & LawThe Second World War

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