Nuremberg (Oct. 1)
The verdict issued here today by the Allied Military Tribunal against the members of the Nazi Government is considered as establishing a legal precedent against the persecution of Jews only in war time and only in communal territories, but not under other circumstances.
The fact that under the judgment of the tribunal, persecution of the Jewish people will be considered a criminal act only if committed in conquered lands was revealed in a statement made by U.S. Justice Robert J. Jackson, who, after the imposition of the sentence, declared:
“I personally regard the conviction and the sentences of individuals as of secondary importance compared to the significance and the commitment by the four nations toward the proposition that wars of aggression are criminal acts and the persecution of conquered minorities on racial, religious and political grounds is likewise criminal. These principles of law will influence future events long after the fate of these particular individuals is forgotten.”
Another high-ranking member of the Allied prosecution commented: “On the basis of the tribunal’s decision, any nation today could go out and liquidate its Jews or Mohammedan or Free Masons or all its left-handed citizens and there isn’t a thing that the world could do about it, unless there followed the waging of aggressive war. And even so, the prosecution would have to prove that the massacres had a direct connection with the plan to wage its war. The fact is that the tribunal elected to take a narrow view of its powers under the charter at every opportunity. It spurned the prosecution’s demand that genocide the destruction of nations, races or groups – be declared an international crime per se. It preferred to follow the old maxim of international law that the ‘internal affairs’ of any nation are not the business of any other nation, so long as it restricts wholesale murder to its own citizens.”
In substantiating his interpretation, this member of the tribunal pointed to the part of the text of the judgment which reads: “The policy of persecution, repression and murder of civilians in Germany before the war of 1939, who were likely to be hostile to the government, was most ruthlessly carried out. The persecution of the Jews during the same period is established beyond all doubt. To constitute crimes against humanity, the acts before the outbreak of war must have been in execution of, or in connection with, any crime within the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The tribunal is of the opinion that revolting and horrible as many of these crimes were, it has not been satisfactorily proved that they were done in execution of or in connection with, any such crime. The tribunal, therefore, cannot make a general declaration that acts before 1939 were crimes against humanity within the meaning of the charter.”
VERDICT CONTAINS LONG SECTION ON NAZI ANTI-JEWISH ACTIVITIES
The verdict contained long sections describing the various abominable acts of 15 of the 22 defendants who were directly involved in anti-Semitic excesses. The seven defendants who were judged as not involved in Nazi anti-Semitism were Rudolf Hess, Grand Admirals Karl Doenitz and Erich Reader, and Albert Spear, plus the three who were acquitted, Franz von Papen, Hjalmar Schacht and Hans Fritzche.
Twelve of the convicted Nazi leaders were sentenced to be hanged on Oct. 16, the Allied Control Council decided today. They are: Herman Goering, Joachim von Ribbentrop Hans Frank, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Wilhelm Keitel, Fritz Sauckel, Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl, Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Martin Bormann. Bormann, however, is still at large. Life sentences were given Rudolf Hess, Walter Funk and Admiral Erich Raader. Twenty-year sentences were given Baldur von Schirach and Albert Speer. Konstantin von Neurath received a 15-year sentence, while Admiral Karl Doenitz was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.