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Nuremberg: 75 years after the Nuremberg Trials

Have you heard of the trials?

Many travelers, especially from the United States think of one event, when they think of Nuremberg: The famous Nuremberg Trials. Next year, in 2021, this milestone in law history, the first international human rights process in the world, has its 75th anniversary.

Why was a trial needed after World War Two?

After World War two has ended in Germany and the allies (USA, UK, France and Russia) had taken over control, the question was raised, how to judge the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis. Should the whole German people who had elected and supported Hitler be punished for Holocaust, war and crime agains humanity? That would have been impossible. Instead the leaders of the Nazi party, who had, with their propaganda, led Germany and the world into what had happened were supposed to be made responsible. But how?  On what law should such a process be based on? Back in the days, there was no international law of human rights written yet and based on the inhuman Nazi laws, murdering 6 million jews in concentration camps had been absolutely legal. 

Why did the trial happen in Nuremberg?

Within a year after the capitulation, under American lead a framework for a gigantic process was built. Nuremberg was chosen for hosting it because of pragmatic reasons: The court house and prison of the city where the only ones which had survived the damages of the war in Germany. Also the ideologic meaning Nuremberg had for Hitler as a city of the enormous Propaganda festivals of the „Nazi Party Rallies“ was supposed to be balanced out with holding a process against the Nazi leaders in exactly that city. 

In 1946, 24 leaders of the Nazi party were put on the biggest international trial of law history. It took more than a year and became only the first of many trials that were hold in the „palace of justice“ in Nuremberg to work up the crimes of the Nazi era. 

What's today's traces of the Nuremberg trials?

The law that was written for those trials by an international community today is considered the initial spark of the foundation of the United Nations Organization and its universally applicable „Decleration of Human Rights“

Today Nuremberg proudly sees itself as the „city of human rights“. You can visit the „street of human rights“ and read the 30 paragraphs of the declaration, written on gigantic pillars for eternity or visit the actual court room 600, the place where 75 years ago, a new age of international collaboration and a new understanding of international law had started.

By: Nuremberg Free Walking Tours

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