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Benjamin Kaplan, Nurenberg attorney, dies

(JTA) — Benjamin Kaplan, who helped draft the American portion of the indictment of Nazi war criminals tried at Nuremberg, has died.

Kaplan, who was a law professor at Harvard and served on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, died Aug. 18 of pneumonia at his home in Cambridge, Mass. at the age of 99.

He joined the staff of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in 1945 when Jackson had been named chief prosecutor for the United States at Nuremberg. Kaplan oversaw the legal staff in Washington that was gathering evidence for the case. He also helped draft the American contribution to the indictment, which accused the Nazi defendants of crimes against humanity. He reportedly declined the invitation to be one of the prosecutors to give evidence before the international tribunal.

The army awarded Kaplan a Bronze Star for his service.

Kaplan taught for 25 years at Harvard, beginning in 1947, and taught two current Supreme Court justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, according to The New York Times.

In 1972, he was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, where he served until mandatory retirement at the age of 70. He then served on the Massachusetts Appeals Court, deciding cases until just a few years ago.
 

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