Episodes
Published 07/17/22
On 30th September 1946, the Judges announce their verdicts. And the sentences to be imposed – death or imprisonment or freedom. But come the night of the executions, Hermann Goering has one last surprise. And now it’s time for the verdicts: 11 will be hanged, 7 are given prison sentences and 3 are set free. Everyone is surprised by the acquittals and at a hasty press conference, the free men trade autographs for chocolate (but are re-arrested by German authorities as soon as they leave the...
Published 01/11/22
After 216 days in the courtroom, the judges must arrive at their verdicts – the debate will be fierce. Outside, some expect all the Nazis to hang, others predict prison or even acquittal. And while they wait, the Accused are allowed visitors for the first time. And maybe the last time. As the judges argue, the prisoners are allowed visitors for the first time. Emma Schwabenland, an American translator, is given the job of organising the Visitors Room, and Pastor Gerecke, an American...
Published 01/11/22
As more evidence emerges of Nazi Crimes – the camps, the slave labour ministry, the euthanasia programme – all Germans must come to terms with their own individual guilt. They can no longer pretend they didn’t know. The Accused Men employ a range of limp excuses for their behaviour, claiming they knew nothing, that it was all done by Himmler (now conveniently dead), that they had no choice. But the testimony of Hermann Graebe, a German engineer working in occupied Ukraine, who stumbled...
Published 01/11/22
April 1946, the trial continues but the German people either don’t believe the evidence or just ignore it. Is it because or in spite of the horrific evidence? But they have to start paying attention – only then can the healing begin. Trial fatigue is setting in: British and American newspapers only want the gruesome stories, and the Germans are doggedly uninterested – it’s either lies or they should just get on and execute them. Even Otto Ohlendorf, who led an SS Einsatzkommando which...
Published 01/11/22
March 1946 and it’s time to hear the Defence Case. Goering is first into the witness box but he seems unashamed, proud of what the Nazis achieved. His duel with the prosecutors begins and they have to outwit him, have to find a way to demolish his attempt at martyrdom. Once in the witness box, Hermann Goering, unlike the other defendants, doesn’t pretend to be ignorant of what went on or claim that his signature was faked. He is proud of what the Nazi Regime achieved for Germany and intends...
Published 01/11/22
The trial is underway but the accused men in the dock seem almost proud of what they did. Some of the Nazi documents are chilling but there are simply too many of them. It will need something much more real to show the world the enormity of their crimes. And soon it’s clear there’s a danger of the American team relying too heavily on documents alone – the trial is becoming bogged down. The Defendants are even starting to feel they’re winning...until the American Prosecutors change tack and...
Published 01/11/22
January 1946, the army psychologist assigned to look after the Accused has a never-to-be-repeated chance to examine evil, close-up, day-by-day. What made these 22 men capable of such horrific acts? He spends time with them, he runs tests: just what will it reveal? Gustav Gilbert, a German-speaking US Army Psychologist, is assigned to Nuremberg Prison to examine and watch over the defendants. The defendants value the chance to speak to him and he lets them – he writes up daily, copious notes...
Published 01/11/22
20th November 1945 and the Defendants take their place in the dock – 22 of the most senior Nazis, representing each component of Hitler’s machine. But without simultaneous translation the trial will be unworkable – are the interpreters ready? Can they manage 100 words-per-minute? This has never been done before. Nuremberg was the first ever use of simultaneous translation of every spoken word, into at least three other languages...they said it couldn’t be done. But it was. And the trial...
Published 01/11/22
October 1945 and the trial starts in less than a month – but do the Russians genuinely want it to happen? They seem to be employing delaying tactics – is it because they can also be accused of war crimes? Or is it just another regular SNAFU? Each day brings a new problem: first, to find enough German lawyers to represent the 22 defendants (but access to American PX supplies closes the deal for most of them)...can Russia provide translations of its documents (Stalin had executed most people...
Published 01/11/22
September 1945. Everyone is gathering in Nuremberg for the ‘Trial Of The Century’ except the courtroom isn’t ready, the judges are still in Berlin and none of the Nazis have lawyers – and exactly who will be formally accused? It’s the last few weeks before the trial: who will actually be indicted? The names keep changing – and there are still some surprises...and blunders. And will the courtroom be rebuilt on time? It doesn’t help when the floor collapses. And who will actually serve the...
Published 01/11/22
When Allied soldiers first encounter the Concentration Camps in Germany, it’s hard to believe: millions worked or starved to death. But now the investigators start to hear about the camps in the East – especially a place called Auschwitz – designed only to exterminate. And in Hamburg, two Jewish German refugees now lead the British Army investigation into Tesch & Stabenow AG. It appears to be a harmless pest-control company...but it also marketed Zyklon B, the principal poison gas used...
Published 01/11/22
August 1945, the war is over, and the evidence is building up. If anything there’s too much paperwork, too many files – the Nazi machine insisted on recording everything. But are these documents sufficient – or will they need to hear from the victims themselves? Meanwhile, across Germany, ordinary soldiers are stumbling across the concentration camps, shocked and stunned by what they find. The British drive into Belsen having been told it was ‘just a typhus hospital’. But when they start...
Published 01/11/22
The victorious Allies have agreed to put the ‘top-notch Nazis’ on trial. But it turns out the Americans have one concept of a trial and the Russians another entirely. And what precisely will these men be charged with – exactly what is ‘A Crime Against Humanity’? But it isn’t easy to agree a new trial procedure – Russia and France don’t use cross-examination and America is insisting on a charge of Conspiracy, unknown in France. But procedure is nothing compared to the problem of the Four...
Published 01/11/22
June 1945 and with the Nazis under arrest, the Allies must now decide what to do with them. Washington wants a trial, while in London, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is happy with a summary court martial. But if you put them on trial, what is the charge? Russia, USA, France and the UK meet in London to begin the tortured negotiations towards the creation of a totally new sort of trial. Churchill wants the top 50 put against a wall and shot; Stalin wants them to have a ‘show trial’...
Published 01/11/22
Weeks after the defeat of Germany, it’s mid-Summer 1945, and the top surviving Nazis have been arrested all over Europe. For the moment, the prisoners are held in a hotel in Luxembourg but there are people out there, victims, survivors, and they want revenge. Inside the hotel, the Prison Commandant is under pressure. Colonel Andrus had to prevent attempts to release his prisoners, or to lynch them, or to stop them committing suicide. But once they’re transferred to Nuremberg Prison, it’s no...
Published 01/11/22
It’s May 1945 and Germany has just surrendered. The country is in chaos – a million former soldiers, three million foreign nationals, another million liberated from the concentration camps, all trying to get home. And hiding somewhere, in all that, hoping to slip away, are the top Nazis. Top of the list to be tracked down and arrested are Joachim von Ribbentrop (Hitler’s Foreign Minister), Ernst Kaltenbrunner (Himmler’s Deputy), Hans Frank (Governor of Occupied Poland) and maybe even Martin...
Published 01/11/22