“Vae victis”, which means “Woe to the vanquished”, said Breno ( leader of the Gauls) when the Romans complained of falling into the trap with the scales that were supposed to calculate the ransom to be delivered to the tribe of the Senones. The same phrase also denotes a reality that refers to all the conflicts in history and concerns the winners. Nuremberg Trials
Modern warfare has rules that, when they are not followed, those responsible for the violation are brought to justice . It is not a question of judging a soldier who in the middle of battle kills another; this is an act that, however difficult it may be, falls within the duties of any military man.
They are penalized for war crimes, killing of civilians, unarmed prisoner soldiers, as well as indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations and their appropriate facilities, as well as for passing from soldiers to civilians or from soldiers to the enemy.
The Nazi regime was characterized by exacerbated brutality to various communities, whose belief was to consider them as “inferior beings”
This led, even before his rise to power in 1933, to carry out more or less organized assaults against some of these communities, against Jews present in Germany, even from 1939 onwards with the beginning of the war and the occupation of territories throughout the country. Europe, for crimes and atrocities, against both military and civilian prisoners. Nuremberg Trials
After the fall of Berlin in May 1945 and the subsequent unconditional surrender of Germany, it was time to be accountable to criminals. Vae victis, but not of soldiers, captains, lieutenants, colonels or generals who simply complied with due obedience and fought by killing enemies or ordering them to be killed, but of those who attacked civilians.
For months and years later, several trials were held in different places, both in Germany and in other countries, but when it came to dealing with the greatest and last responsible, the allies decided to give a deserved punishment.
They chose the city of Nuremberg for its symbolism of Nazism, as there were major Nazi party events there, as well as being the place where the infamous laws that legalized discrimination according to the Nazis’ racist concepts were dictated. Nuremberg Trials
Although hundreds of Nazis were tried, some of the main defendants at the Nuremberg Trial were as follows:
- – Hermann Göring, Air Marshal (Reichsmarschall) of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe).
- – Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s secretary, who had parachuted over Britain in 1941 with an as-yet-uncleared goal.
- – Wilhelm Frick, Reich interior minister and protector of Bohemia and Moravia in the death of Reinhard Heydrich
- – Karl Dönitz, supreme head of the German navy (Kriegsmarine), from 1943 and successor of Adolf Hitler as president of Germany after his suicide, until his deposition by the allied occupation authorities.
- – Erich Raeder, supreme head of Kriegsmarine until 1943. Nuremberg Trials
- – Joachim von Ribbentrop, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- – Ernst Kaltenbrunner, director of the central security office .
- – Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect and minister of armaments and war.
- – Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi theorist and Reich minister for the occupied territories.
- – Alfred Jodl, chief of State Major of the German army (Wehrmacht).
- – Wilhelm Keitel, Field Marshal, head of the Wehrmacht High Command.
- – Gustav Krupp, important German industrialist, one of the main contractors in the army, who used slave labor in his factories.
The indictment was carried out by four prosecutors, one for each allied power (United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France), while there were also four judges, one for each of the same countries, with an alternate judge in each case.
The processes took place between November 20, 1945 and October 1, 1946.
Almost a year of searching, but not enough to express all the horror suffered in the war.
Witnesses such as photographer Francesc Boix, who as a republican exile was held in the Mauthausen concentration camp, gave his testimony, identifying the accused and providing graphic evidence attesting to the atrocities committed. Nuremberg Trials
The sentences were death in the cases of Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg and Hermann Göring, although the latter committed suicide before being executed.
The method chosen for all cases was the gallows, including the military and who were denied the “honor” of being shot because of the nature of their crimes. Vae victis.
Several life sentences were also issued, such as those of Erich Raeder and especially Rudolf Hess, who was the last survivor of the 1987 Nuremberg trials in Spandau Prison, under circumstances still unclear.
After the trials, there were criticisms about the way it was approached, calling what happened “winners’ justice”, but for history these trials remained a model to be followed and ensured, in large part, the foundations of what the Court should be. of International Criminal Law in the future. Nuremberg Trials