Nuremberg was the Nazis “shrine city,” home to annual Party Rallies in a huge stadium where Hitler announced to cheering masses that Germany would be the rulers of tomorrow’s world.
The stadium’s giant gold-plated swastika was ceremoniously detonated, a Newsreel commentator adding, “The fires of war have purged Germany of Nazi power. Let’s be sure it never again rises from her ashes.”
Nuremberg was also the site from which the Nazi Race Laws were decreed, marking the beginning of the Holocaust. And so, it was befitting that this city would host the world’s first international trial of the Nazi Major War Criminals, the International Military Tribunal or IMT, between 1945-46.
The IMT began as a war crimes trial and then moved on to codify the laws of war and responsibilities of governments to fight wars morally and ethically. Nuremberg has stood as a guidepost in the new world order for more than 75 years but is now under attack.
With the increasing spread of conspiracy theories that glorify Hitler and Nazi Germany on the internet and beyond, young people and teachers need trusted resources that show them the consequences of Nazism as a means of keeping it from repeating.
Courtroom 600 wants students to “Understand the Past. Protect the Future.” Because the past is not gone: the past is the present. Putin’s unlawful war of aggression, and the Israel-Hamas war, have catapulted two Nuremberg indictments into the daily news: “War Crimes” and “Crimes against Humanity.”
Young people today are seeing these terms but don’t understand their origins, or what they mean.
Courtroom 600 teaches students how the victorious Allies sought justice through due process, for men despised as the worst criminals in history. By focusing on the search for justice and accountability, we’ll show students that there was a high price to pay for following an evil ideology.
Why does the world fail to stop genocide? Who is responsible for stopping war crimes, and how should they be prosecuted?
Educators need resources that make defining events of the Twentieth Century applicable to today’s world.
It’s essential that we bring these trials into classrooms, now. The challenge is, today’s educators don’t have the knowledge to teach Nuremberg.
Courtroom 600 uses the four indictments at Nuremberg to teach causes and effects of WWII and the Holocaust, in a story-based experience designed to capture the imagination and interest of today’s youth.
“The Four Indictments Modules” are short podcasts that inspire students to question and learn how the past is connected to the present day. Companion photo galleries empower viewers to analyze primary source documents, exclusive artifacts and photos.
CRIME & CONSEQUENCES
The victorious Allies at Nuremberg gave a clear and concise explanation for why the war happened, who was responsible, and who would be held accountable.
Prosecutors charged that Nazi Germany was not a real government but a criminal state intent on making aggressive war to steal other peoples’ lands, enslave and murder them. Three other indictments follow from the first.
In addition to education modules for high schools and global citizens, Courtroom 600’s “Behind the Scenes” virtual museum will preserve the legacy and stories of Nuremberg for generations to come. This 300-image pilot site was developed to honor my father’s service at the IMT.
After losing him in 2015, I inherited his smuggled army documents and memorabilia which no one in the family had seen. My dad never shared his story, but I’ve got it now— along with so many more Nuremberg stories which are fascinating.
Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor wrote in his memoirs, “Except for the people themselves, the United States Army made the Nuremberg war crimes community. It was the army that proposed Nuremberg as the site of the trial…brought the defendants and witnesses, guarded and safeguarded them…and took care of all necessary logistics of running the trial, feeding, housing and transporting more than 1,000 people in the shattered city of Nuremberg…It was a magnificent feat of construction and management under pressure.”
Guards at Nuremberg had come off the battlefield. Some were given jobs they never trained for, like making copies on a mimeograph machine. They saw firsthand the evidence being presented in court. Many wrote about how the cold hard truth literally changed their lives.
In 1942 Frank Capra produced a series of war films called “Why We Fight” to make sure every soldier knew the causes of WWII. Americans thought the war was an ocean away, so why should we send our boys over there? That question is being asked by many in America today.
We answer that question through the power of story, and we will teach next generations to protect democracy and peace.
This is why we fight.