Records for U. S. Army Guard at Nurnberg war trials

My wife's uncle PFC William H. Mitchell, Jr. served in the 26th Infantry Regiment during WWII. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge (possibly as part of the 79th Infantry) and was shot one inch below the heart, yet survived. After the war, he re-enlisted so he could stay in Germany as he wanted to marry a German girl. He was assigned to serve as a guard at the Nurnberg war Trials. He guarded many of the war criminals including Rudolph Hess and escorted him to the trial daily. Are there records which could reveal insight into his life as a guard? Have seen numerous websites about the Nurnberg war trials, but have not found anything about him nor do we see a picture of him (We have a picture of him in his WWII uniform to compare faces to.)

  • There is an entry for a Private Mitchell, but no first or last name as having escorted Speer from the prison to meet with interrogators or his defense counsel.  What you describe is too different roles:  prison guard and escort guard.  There are nearly no records of the soldiers who served as guards at Nuremberg.  There are hardly any photos of either prison or escort guards.  If you have information about his service, such as letters, would you please email me for a project i'm working on?  My uncle was a prison guard, and I'm trying to piece together from personal letters what life was like for these men.  I have some of his stories but they're all about his own experience

  • I do not have much to add to what I originally posted. The only information I have come across are articles in Evansville, Indiana newspapers and a letter from PFC William Mitchell's wife Trudy; no officials records. Mitchell met his future wife Trudy after the war and wanted to marry her, but American soldiers were not allowed to marry German women at the time. To be near her, he re-enlisted as a military policeman and was assigned duty at the Nazi war trials at Nuremburg. He was described as prison guard and head jailor of some of whom were the most notorious criminals, in different accounts. One time he was described as guarding Rudolph Hess and another said he escorted Hess to trial daily. Mitchell was once described as serving in the First Division. He and other guards lived in the nearby (Jurist) Building (Ayeyelish??).
    Your information does seem to suggest that my Mitchell could be the Private Mitchell who escorted Albert Speer to meet his interrogators or his defense counsel. My sources provide no insight into the life of Mitchell as a prison guard or escort, just more details about his life waiting to be married to Trudy.
    Sorry I have nothing else to share.
  • My grandfather is 95 and he was a guard in the Nuremburg War Criminal Trials. We have some photographs and some information about his time there in 1947 and 1948. 

  • Karen what is your grandfather’s name?  Does he talk much about his experiences?  Do you know if he was a guard in the prison, courtroom, exterior or as an escort guard?  Thanks

  • As there seems to few records available about the guards in the Nuremburg War Trials, would your grandfather be willing to share the stories he remembers about those times? What he lived through would be similar to what my wife's uncle experienced. I wonder what a routine day was for the guards, how long did they work, what were their duties,, how many soldiers does he estimate served with him, where did he and the others live. Do the pictures you have of your grandfather show him on guard duty or performing other military duties? Would he be willing to share? Which of the prisoners did your grandfather guard? Was he assigned to primarily guard one individual or many.  Again, any insight he can provide will be most appreciated. Also, you could ask him if he knew of William Mitchell, my wife's uncle. Thank you

  • I have taken an oral history with him and his memory is still pretty sharp. We have a group photo that I did research to write a caption for. This is his unit, Ida. He is Herbert Brogdon, in the bottom right. He said he did escorting of the judges, some prisoners, and in the courtroom. He remembered guarding Speer, Hess, and some other Nazis. I asked about a WIlliam Mitchell or a Bill Mitchell and he didn't remember one. 

    Would you or   be willing to jump on a virtual call and chat about the Nuremburg guards? I'm curious about the project you're working on about them. 


  • Michael I’m working on a project that will explain the days of the guards in some detail. Short answers were the courtroom guards were rotated often because it was hard in that courtroom with the heat of those lights.  The escort guards could have long days especially if there were a lot of meets with lawyers and interrogators. They never worked consecutive days. Prison guards worked 24 shifts all in the prison. Two hours watching a cell and four off.  There was a lot of turnover in the outfit because guys who reached their points went home. Some guys couldn’t hack it and were removed. Other guys got pulled off for other duties. 

  • Hi Karen I’m happy to do so but do not know how to connect. My attempts to post contact information got blocked

  • I checked everything I have for the staff personnel for the last name Brogdon and couldn’t find anything but that doesn’t mean much because there are nearly no known records of prison guards.  Escort guards are well documented but no such name. There are two Herbert’s in the NARA records. One born in 1917 and one in 1912.  

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