In October 1946 the Office of the Chief of Counsel for War Crimes (OCCWC) was established with the objective to identify and prosecute Nazi war criminals within the American zone. Evolved from the organization and staff of the Subsequent Proceedings Division of the Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality (OCCPAC), OCCWC collected evidence which included originals and copies of captured German documents and interrogations of German personnel, affidavits and testimonies of witnesses, and documents and records prepared or collected by OCCPAC during the trial of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT). After assembling and evaluating these evidentiary materials, OCCWC started proceedings against individuals, organizations or commercial firms that were believed to be responsible. U.S. military tribunals at Nuremberg tried 185 individuals in 12 separate proceedings grouped according to type of crime or organization. These trials are collectively known as United States Military Tribunals, Nuremberg or the “Subsequent Proceedings.”
Under the authority of Allied Control Council Law No. 10, 11 military tribunals were established to carry out 12 war crimes trials conducted at Nuremberg between October 1946 and April 1949. The procedures applied by U.S. Military Tribunals I-VI in the subsequent proceedings were patterned after those of the IMT and further developed in the 12 cases, which required over 1,200 days of court sessions and generated more than 330,000 transcript pages. A Central Secretariat under the direction of the Office of the Secretary General of Military Tribunals was also established to assist the tribunals in carrying out their functions, including a Court Archives Section to maintain the official court records of the 12 cases tried.
To accomplish its tasks, OCCWC established several units, including the following:
- legal divisions and trial teams related to specific cases (e.g., I.G. Farben) or subject areas (e.g., Economic, Ministries) which changed over time as cases were concluded and new cases were tried;
- the Evidence Division that supported all OCCWC case work and included subordinate units such as the Apprehension and Locator Branch (which established the location of war crimes suspects);
- the Interrogation Branch (responsible for the interrogation of witnesses and pretrial interrogations of defendants);
- the Document Control Branch (which registered all documents brought to Nuremberg for evidentiary purposes, and prepared document books of selected documents); and
- the OCCWC Library.
Records of the United States Military Tribunals, Nuremberg can be divided into three main categories:
- Court archives of the Central Secretariat;
- Operating records of OCCWC and its subordinate units;
- Records relating to clemency petitions of defendants to the Advisory Board on Clemency for War Criminals, Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany.
The court archives of the Central Secretariat mostly consists of the official trial records for the 12 cases tried before military tribunals at Nuremberg, 1946-1949. Records for each of the cases typically include transcripts and minutes of the proceedings in English and German; prosecution exhibits and defense exhibits; prosecution document books and defense document books (in English and German); the official court file (e.g., orders, briefs, notices, motions, certificates, and lists of prosecution and defense exhibits); and court papers including court orders, prosecution closing statements, defense opening and closing statements, defense final pleas, the judgment of the tribunal, and defendants’ clemency petitions.
Selected documents from each trial were subsequently published by OCCWC’s Publications Division in Trials of the Major War Criminals Before the Nürnberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10 which are available digitally on the Library of Congress website.
The National Archives has microfilmed most of the records of these 12 trials and produced descriptive pamphlets to accompany the microfilm publications. The table below lists the formal and common names for each case, trial dates, the National Archives microfilm publication number, and the number of rolls for all 12 trials:
|Formal Name||Common Name||Trial Dates||NARA Microfilm Publication||Number of Rolls|
|United States v. Karl Brandt et al. (Case I)||Medical Case||November 21, 1946-August 20, 1947||M887||46|
|United States v. Erhard Milch(Case II)||Milch Case||November 13, 1946-April 17, 1947||M888||13|
|United States v. Josef Altstoetter et al. (Case III)||Justice Case||February17-December 4, 1947||M889||53|
|United States v. Oswald Pohl et al. (Case IV)||Pohl Case [SS]||January 13, 1947-August 11, 1948||M890||38|
|United States v. Friedrich Flick et al. (Case V)||Flick Case [Industrialist]||March 3-December 22, 1947||M891||42|
|United States v. Carl Krauch et al. (Case VI)||I.G. Farben Case [Industrialist]||August 14, 1947-July 30, 1948||M892||113|
|United States v. Wilhelm List et al. (Case VII)||Hostage Case||July 8, 1947-February 19, 1948||M893||48|
|United States v. Ulrich Greifelt et al. (Case VIII)||RuSHA Case [SS]||October 10, 1947-March 10, 1948||M894||38|
|United States v. Otto Ohlendorf et al. (Case IX)||Einsatzgruppen Case [SS]||September 15, 1947-April 10, 1948||M895||38|
|United States v. Alfried Krupp et al. (Case X)||Krupp Case [Industrialist]||November 17, 1947-July 31, 1948||M896||69|
|United States v. Ernst von Weizsaecker et al. (Case XI)||Ministries Case||December 20, 1947-April 14, 1949||M897||173|
|United States v. Wilhelm von Leeb et al. (Case XII)||High Command Case||December 30, 1947-October 29, 1948||M898||69|
Additionally, the court archives maintained Cross-Reference Cards to Documents Accepted as Exhibits in Cases 1-12, 10/24/1946 - 6/20/1949. These cards are arranged numerically by case number. Cards relating to prosecution exhibits precede those relating to defense exhibits and are arranged alphabetically by German document series and thereunder by document number. Cards for defense exhibits are arranged alphabetically by the initial letter of surname of the defendant and thereunder numerically by document number.
Some of the most relevant documents maintained by the OCCWC and its subordinate units are those collected in preparation for, and use during the trials. The Document Control Branch maintained these records, which consist mostly of photostatic copies of German documents with some originals. The materials were organized by a general subject into six document series. Within the six series, the records are arranged numerically by document number with gaps, in the order in which they had been assigned to each series. Each document typically includes the German document, summary of content of the document or English-language translation, and the Staff Evidence Analysis (SEA) form that specifies the evidentiary relevance of the document. These six document series, five of which have been microfilmed, include records of potential evidentiary value from the era of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, and a few records of an earlier period. They are as follows:
- Nürnberg Government (NG) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 contain records relating to the activities of various Reich ministries. These documents have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication T1139 (70 rolls).
- Nürnberg Industrialists (NI) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 deal mainly with alleged crimes committed by German industry, finances, and economic affairs, particularly those affecting the Krupp, Flick, and I.G. Farben industrial firms. These records have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication T301 (164 rolls).
- Nürnberg Organizations (NO) Documents [1933-1945], 3/15/1947-6/20/1949 relate to activities of organizations of the Nazi Party, in particular criminal actions of the Schutzstaffel (SS). These records have not been microfilmed.
- Nürnberg Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (NOKW) Documents [1939-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 relate to criminal activities of different German military commands. These records have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication T1119 (47 rolls).
- Nürnberg Propaganda (NP) Documents [1934-1941], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 deal with activities of Nazi organizations in foreign countries. These documents have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M942 (1 roll).
- Nürnberg Miscellaneous (NM) Documents [1874-1946], 10/24/1946-6/20/2949 concern mostly the mistreatment of German labor leaders by the Nazis. These records have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M936 (1 roll).
Another important document series is titled Office of Chief of Counsel (OCC) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 and consists of original documents and copies of records collected from numerous sources at Nuremberg. These records relate to various activities of German government agencies, industrial forms, military commands, and Nazi Party organizations. Two other relevant document series were collected in the Washington, D.C., branch office of the OCCWC and are titled Washington Auswärtiges Amt (WA) Documents [1940-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 and Washington Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (WB) Documents [1939-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949. The WA document series contains reproductions of German Foreign Office records regarding espionage and Jewish matters in foreign countries. These records have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M946. The WB document series consists mostly of duplicates of documents located in the NOKW document series.
There are comprehensive finding aids to the document series described above located in the series titled Register Cards to the Nürnberg Industrialist (NI) Document Series, 1946-1948 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1397) and Register Cards to the Nürnberg Government (NG) and Nürnberg Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (NOKW) Document Series, 1946-1948 (National Archives Microfilm Publications M1278 and M1291). The cards typically list the contents of the specific document series and identify each document in every document series by number, date, author, subject, and language. Further, records in the series titled Staff Evidence Analysis Forms (SEAs), 1946-1948 and Name Card Index to Records Relating Primarily to German Aggression, 1946-1948 serve as valuable finding aids to the various document series.
There are also records of the Berlin Branch’s Evidence Division which consist of materials collected by the OCCWC branch office in Berlin. These document series include: Berlin Branch Thayer (BBT) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 consisting of records that mostly pertain to German government agencies; Berlin Branch (BB) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 that relate to various German industrial and financial institutions; Berlin Branch at Heath (BBH) Documents [1933-1946], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 relating to the economic activities of leading German industrial concerns such as I.G. Farben, Röchling, and Flick; Finance (F) Documents [1933-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 containing copies of records involving German banks, business firms, and governmental institutions; and Schutzstaffel (SS) Documents [1939-1945], 10/24/1946-6/20/1949 consisting of copies of records generated by SS officials.
Further, OCCWC operating records comprise substantial interrogations of pertinent individuals, most extensive being the Interrogation Branch’s Interrogations and Summaries of Interrogations of Defendants and Witnesses, 1946-1948. For the most part, the full interrogations are only available in German and are accompanied by English-language summaries. These records have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M1019 (91 rolls). Another series of interrogations worth mentioning is titled Reports of High Command Interrogations, 1945-1946 and relates mostly to activities of the German military high command. Records of interrogations can also be found in the series titled Reports, Interrogations, and Other Records Received from Various Allied Military Agencies, 1945-1947. Consisting primarily of interrogation reports regarding individual Germans and German organizations, these files were created by various United States, British, and Allied organizations mainly during 1945 and 1946. Some records in this series have been microfilmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication M1270.
The final category of records pertaining to the Nuremberg military tribunals relate to clemency petitions of defendants submitted to the Advisory Board on Clemency for War Criminals, Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany. The series titled Correspondence, Reports, Petitions for Clemency, and Other Records Relating to Defendants in Subsequent Proceedings, 1950-1950 documents appeals of individuals for clemency and related correspondence. The materials consist mostly of affidavits and statements by German nationals on behalf of the defendants.
This blog post provided an overview of the most important series of records that can be consulted when conducting research on the Subsequent Proceedings. The vast majority of the records have been microfilmed. In the foreseeable future, these microfilm publications will be digitized and the digital images will be attached online to the appropriate series descriptions in the National Archives Catalog.