Iconic Photos

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Nuremberg Prison

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Above is the photo of the main call block in the Nuremberg prison where the defendants before the International Military Tribunal were incarcerated. It was one of the few photos of the Nuremberg Proceedings that Life Magazine had printed. Accompanying the photo was a short description Life editors wrote: “In the rickety old jail in Nurnberg, Germany last month, 20 of the war’s top Nazi criminals passed their gloomiest Christmas. They got no special Christmans foods, no special Christmas favors from anyone during the trial’s holiday recess. In each six-by-eight cell was a small wodden table and chair, a sprindling iron bunk with straw-filled mattress and an ancient toilet without a seat. Three times a day, they ate plain food out of dented GI mess kits and twice a day, spaced 30 feeet apart, went for 20 minute walts in the tiny prison courtyard spattered with dirth snow. They spent their time reading, smoking and just staring at the bare walls of their dingy cells. At night, they slept without sheets under rough GI blankets. Still they were better off for food and shelter than most of the Europeans out of jail.”

A month earlier, on November 20, 1945, the Nuremberg trials had began. At 6 a.m. the defendants are awakened, fed oatmeal and coffee, shaved, and issued court clothing — uniforms without insignias for soldiers and suits and ties for civilians. At 9 a.m. they are brought through a covered walkway from the prison to an elevator that opens onto the prisoners’ dock in the courtroom, where they take their places on wooden benches in the order listed on the indictment. At 9:30 a.m. the courtroom doors open to 250 journalists. A half hour later, the eight judges enter and the I.M.T. convenes for the first time.

To prevent more suicides like that of Dr. Robert Ley, Germany’s ex-masters were inspected every 30 seconds. Plexiglas repleaced ordinary window glass and cells are searched daily. On entering cells, prisoners are stripped of ties, belts and shoelaces.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

July 7, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Politics, War

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5 Responses

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  1. My father was one of the US soldeirs guarding the German war criminals. One he spoke about was Herman Goering.

    Georgette Lundquist

    August 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    • My dad guarded Goering also. He wasn’t guarding him when he succeded in committing suicide, though.

      Charles Wear

      June 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      • Incidentally, my dad passed away on this date (June, 27, 2008).

        Charles Wear

        June 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm

  2. I am going to Germany and wanted to find the prison but can’t find anything online about it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Georgette Lundquist

    August 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

  3. My grandfather was also a soldier guarding in the prison. It looks like him on the 2nd up on the right. i wish the picture was clearer.


    March 8, 2012 at 3:18 am

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