<p>View of the courtroom as seen from the interpreters' section during the <a href="/narrative/9506">IG Farben Trial</a>. The defense lawyers are in the foreground, the defendants are in the dock to the right, and the spectators' gallery is on the far side of the courtroom.</p>

Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings, Case #6, The IG Farben Case

After World War II ended, the Allies established courts in each of their occupied zones in Germany to prosecute German officials for their role in the commission of war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. American military tribunals in Nuremberg, Germany, presided over 12 major proceedings against leading German industrialists, military figures, SS perpetrators, and others. Included among these Subsequent Nuremberg Trials was the IG Farben Case.

United States v. Carl Krauch, et al.

The IG Farben Trial, the sixth Subsequent Nuremberg Proceeding, was tried by Military Tribunal VI, which had been created by the US Military Government for Germany on August 8, 1947.

An indictment filed on May 3 named 24 defendants, all in the IG Farben industrial concern, and listed five counts:

  • the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging of wars of aggression and invasions of other countries
  • committing war crimes and crimes against humanity through the plunder and spoliation of public and private property in countries and territories that came under German occupation
  • committing war crimes and crimes against humanity through participating in the enslavement and deportation for slave labor of civilians from German-occupied territories and of German nationals
  • participation by defendants Christian Schneider, Heinrich Buetefisch, and Erich von der Heyde in the SS, an organization recently declared criminal
  • participation in a common plan or conspiracy to commit crimes against peace

The I. G. Farben defendants hear the indictments against them before the start of the trial.

The trial began with the 24 defendants but ended with only 23, after the case against Max Brueggemann was discontinued on September 9, 1947, because of illness. The trial ran from August 27, 1947, to June 11, 1948, making it the third longest Nuremberg proceeding after the main International Military Tribunal trial and the Ministries Case (the 11th subsequent trial).

The Tribunal returned its judgment on July 29 and 30, acquitting all of the defendants on counts one and five, and the three defendants charged in count four. Nine of the defendants were found guilty of the charges in count two and five were found guilty of the charges in count three. Altogether, ten of the defendants were acquitted completely. The thirteen defendants found guilty were sentenced on 30 July, receiving prison terms ranging from one and one half years to eight years in prison, including time already served.

Belle Mayer Zeck: Oral History Excerpts

Critical Thinking Questions

  • Beyond the verdicts, what impact can trials have?
  • How were various professions, including the business profession, involved in implementing Nazi policies and ideology? What lessons can be considered for contemporary professionals?
  • How did national histories, agendas, and priorities affect the effort to try war criminals after the war?
  • Is it ever too late for accountability?

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