Nuremberg: With every minute, a new horror story.

With every minute, a new horror story.
Nuremberg: With every minute, a new horror story, some new atrocity.

– Nuremberg Trial report – Mutual News – December 13, 1945 –

December 1945 marked the continuation of one of the most famous trials in modern history.Starting in November, the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial assembled  high ranking and influential members of the German Nazi Party and German government who were responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in the 20th Century.

As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1945, details of the appalling atrocities – later to become known as the Holocaust – were becoming known.

As a result there was a clamor for those responsible to face justice and the unprecedented war crimes tribunal was set up. It was held in what was seen as a fitting location – the German city of Nuremberg which had been the site of spectacular annual Nazi propaganda rallies. Holding the post-war trials there helped mark the symbolic end of Hitler’s Third Reich.

At the end of the war Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, initially proposed the execution of 50,000 to 100,000 German staff officers, while British Prime Minister Winston Churchill discussed the possibility of summary execution (execution without trial) of high-ranking Nazis.

He was persuaded by the Americans, however, that criminal trials would be more effective. Among other advantages, the proceedings would require documentation of the crimes and prevent later claims that the defendants had been condemned without evidence.

And so a series of 13 trials came to pass at Nuremberg lasting from 1945 to 1949. The defendants included Nazi Party officials and high-ranking military officers along with German industrialists, lawyers and doctors. They faced charges such as crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.

As the trial progressed, and as testimony revealed, the sheer magnitude of brutality and atrocities became, at times, overwhelming to not only those in the courtroom, but to the millions listening to the proceedings on radio.

On this day the prosecution introduced grizzly evidence from Buchenwald concentration camp. Items included tattooed human skin (favored by the commandant’s wife for use in table lamps and other household furnishings) and the head of an executed Pole used as a paperweight by Commandant Karl Koch.

The reports came in each day until the verdicts were read and the sentences carried out.

Here is one such report from Nuremberg, given on December 13, 1945 by a reporter for Mutual Broadcasting.

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