December 11, 1945 – Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal: ‘Supposedly Civilized Human Beings’
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The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal which started on November 20, 1945, continued this December 11th in 1945. As evidence continued to pile up, and revolting revelation after revolting revelation turned this investigation of War Crimes into a ghastly exposé of the sickness that was Nazi Germany during World War 2, those responsible faced a withering reality and a defeated country faced the grim education in allowing it to happen.
On this day, Prosecution introduced evidence, from German documents, how 4,795,000 foreign civilians and 1,873,000 prisoners of War became work slaves and how millions of laborers from occupied Eastern European countries were recruited after Prisoners of War had died from starvation in order to fill the gaps in keeping the German war machine operating. The Prosecution went on to add that, the recruitment process employed by the Nazis “probably had their origin only in the blackest periods of the Slave Trade”.
While the Prosecution read the list of horrors, the Defendants, wearing dark glasses, squirmed and didn’t look up. Even the self-proclaimed innocent Albert Speer, looked particularly nervous because, as Minister of Armaments And Ammunition, it was Speer who ordered POW’s to work in Armament Production and to be taken from camps for that purpose.
Further evidence indicated, that out of some 5 million workers recruited to work for the Reich, not even 200 thousand came to work voluntarily.
The day and evidence continued, and it had only just begun. Coming in following days was scheduled evidence on the treatment of Jews in Germany and later, testimony on treatment of the French, during their occupation by the Nazis.
No matter how bad and how damning the evidence was by the end of this December 11th in 1945, it was promising to be only the tip of a very dark and ugly iceberg in the days and weeks ahead. And the reports would become regular reminders until the trials ended in 1946.
Here is that account from December 11, 1945 as reported by Arthur Gaith for Mutual News.