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Nuremberg Trials transcripts donated to Jewish Studies

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April 22, 2003

Picture of Rabbi Chaim Mahgel-Friedman looking at the manuscriptA woman who found full original transcripts of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials while preparing to sell her childhood home recently had the texts donated to the Jewish Studies Program.

Carmel Thompson, of Arlington, Va., was surprised to find the transcripts underneath insulation in the attic of her childhood home in May 2001. Her parents had never mentioned them. Thompson donated them to the Sarlo Foundation, which then decided that the SFSU Jewish Studies Program would find them of most use.

Picture of the cover of one of the volumes of the transcriptsThe transcripts, bound in books that total more than 30 volumes and 100,000 pages, provide a comprehensive record of Adolf Hitler's rise to power, the planning and execution of World War II, and the Holocaust. The transcripts outline the trials in which Nazi leaders were brought to court for the systematic murder of millions of people in the Holocaust and planning and carrying out the war.

The Nuremberg Trials began in October 1945 after the United States, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union issued indictments against 24 members of the Nazi party. The defendants were charged with crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, through October 1946 before an International Military Tribunal composed of the Allied countries and representatives of Nazi-occupied countries.

The trials resulted in 12 death sentences, three life sentences, four sentences of 10 years or more, and three acquittals for the individual defendants. Two defendants died before the trials began.

The transcripts, which are mostly in German, are housed in the Marvin L. Silverman Jewish Studies Reading Room on campus and available for students and other scholars to use for research, as well as the general public. Faculty might incorporate the transcripts into their classes.

“These transcripts provide a glimpse into a crucial part of the world’s history. The Nuremberg Trials established precedent in international law by bringing to justice individuals whose genocidal actions still shock the conscience of the world,” SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan said. “The transcripts will greatly further our understanding of the Holocaust and World War II — not just at San Francisco State, but across the globe. And understanding will help us keep an atrocity like the Holocaust from ever happening again.”

For more, see the press release.

Photos: Gino De Grandis.

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Last modified April 18, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs