Visiting the Nürnberg Trials in Germany
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
I went to Nürnberg the other day. Nürnberg is located 2.5 h by regional train from München. It was a beautiful city with castles, markets, bars, churches, etc. But the main purpose of my trip was to visit Nürnberg court, which is known as the trials of the Nazis after WW2.
View of Nürnberg city from a castle.
Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
First, I visited the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is an imposing building and grounds where Nazi mass rallies took place, and you can see how powerful the Nazi was at the time and how they used propaganda to lead the people. Unfortunately, the building was under construction, and I could see only a temporary exhibition. Still, it was worth visiting because I could see many documents and pictures at a hall where the Nazis actually used. Also, it costs only 1.5 Euro for students. It's cheap!
Since it was a temporal exhibition with fewer exhibits than usual, it took me only 1 hour to see all exhibits. After that, I went outside and saw some buildings the Nazis used.
Exhibits in the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
This is a vast meeting grounds built by the Nazis in the 1930s. It was a very huge building, and the party congresses were held six times between 1933 and 1938. Although the building is unfinished due to the suspension of the construction, I could feel the power of the Nazi party at the time by its size.
Next, I visited the Zeppelifeld, which is located next to the Kongresshalle. This place was used by the National Socialists for the Nazi party rallies. You may have seen a speech by Adolf Hitler in front of tens of thousands of soldiers. He was standing on the stage which you can see in the middle of the picture. Today, you can walk anywhere around this structure. I stood on the stage and looked down the street. There were few people in the field, but when I imagined tens of thousands of military personnel who were manipulated by the Nazis, were standing in formation, it made me realize a bizarre and tension at the time.
Memorium Nürnberg Trials
I took U-bahn (local train) and visited the Memorium Nürnberg Trials. Here you can see an exhibition about the post-WW2 Nürnberg trials of Nazi war criminals, and the original court. Again, it was under renovation and I could not enter the original court, but it could be seen through the windows upstairs.
The original court of the Nürnberg trials. This room had been used for trials until March 2020, however it is no longer a place of jurisprudence and it was changed from court room to site of memory.
In that room, leaders of the Nazi regime were sentenced by the judges from the Allies between November 20, 1945 and October 1, 1946. This trial influenced so much on the development of international criminal law up to the present.
There were many interesting exhibits and extensive audio guides, and it took me two hours to see everything (again just 1.5 Euro for students!).
I found exhibits about the Tokyo trial as well. When I play the audio guide, it said “The aggressive Japan army invaded Asia…..”, “The aggressive Japan army attacked Pearl Harbor and started WW2…..” What happened could be seen as fact, but there are more complicated reasons and backgrounds why Japan army was forced to do that, which were not explained in the exhibition, which made me disappointed. It should happen in descriptions of the Nürnberg trials as well. I assume the descriptions are from an allied perspective because this facility might be funded by them (I saw flags of the U.S., France, the U.K., and the Soviet Union at the entrance). Most of the defendants were sentenced to death or life imprisonment even in humiliating ways. In the first place, it does not make sense that victorious nations judge a defeated country.
In the Tokyo trial, two judges were prepared from the Philippines and India, that are not from the Allies, to make the trial fair. But it was obviously not fair (Worsely, in the Nürnberg trials, all judges were from the Allies). The Indian judge Radhabinod Pal said that the Tokyo trial was a farce with a verdict because the conclusion has been decided in advance. And the decisions were made by ex-post facto law, thus no basis is established to convict the accused. And he sentenced innocent to all the accused.
I cannot understand why Japanese soldiers were put to death while Harry S. Truman, who was the president of the U.S. during WW2, was innocent by killing 200,000 civilians with atomic bombs. But at the same time, I have to accept this reality because this is how a war is. Therefore, I deeply appreciate judge Radhabinod Pal for leaving a fair sentence in history. He is a man whom Japanese people must pass down to the next generation.
Exhibition of Tokyo trial
Judge Radhabinod Pal is standing left on the second row in the first picture.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.
We have to awake from propaganda and protect our country!
By the way, when everything that lies behind the pandemic is revealed, I hope that 21 centry-Nürnberg trial judges whom deserve it.
Prost for world peace!!