Einsatzgruppen trial: US prosecution opens case against Einsatzgruppen members

After the trial of major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, the United States held a series of other war crimes trials at Nuremberg—the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings. The ninth trial before the American military tribunal in Nuremberg focused on members of the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units), who had been assigned to kill Jews and other people behind the eastern front. This footage shows US prosecutor Ben Ferencz outlining the purpose of the trial during the opening of the case.


We are now ready to hear the presentation by the prosecution. [US prosecutor Ben Ferencz]: This was a tragic fulfillment of a program of intolerance and arrogance. Vengeance is not our goal, nor do we seek merely a just retribution. We ask this court to affirm by international penal action, man's right to live in peace and dignity, regardless of his race or creed. The case we present is a plea of humanity to law. We shall establish, beyond the realm of doubt, facts, which, before the dark decade of the Third Reich, would have seemed incredible. Reports will show that the slaughter committed by these defendants was dictated not by military necessity, but by that supreme perversion of thought: the Nazi theory of the master race. We shall show that these deeds of men in uniform were the methodical execution of long-range plans to destroy ethnic, national, political, and religious groups which stood condemned in the Nazi mind. Genocide, the extermination of whole categories of human beings, was a foremost instrument of the Nazi doctrine.


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