Oral History

Henry J. Kellermann describes the reactions of defendants during the Nuremberg Trial

Henry received a Doctor of Law (J.D.) degree from the University of Berlin in 1937. Sponsored by the rabbi of the Baltimore Hebrew congregation, Henry immigrated to the United States in the same year. In 1945, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) assigned him to prepare pre-trial briefs for the International Military Tribunal held in Nuremberg, Germany. He interrogated a number of witnesses and defendants. After the war, he held various diplomatic posts.


When we showed the film "The Death Mills," which is, uh, a documentary we found showing the, uh, some of the concentration camps and showing some of the uh scenes from the ghetto in Warsaw. Uh, we darkened the courtroom and had only lights shining on the faces of the uh, 22, uh, defendants. And I had opportunity to study the faces while that film was shown in all its brutality. And, uh, it was amazing how they fell apart. [Hermann] Goering never looked at it, neither did [Rudolf] Hess. [Hjalmar] Schacht, who maintained all through the trial that he had nothing to do with the atrocities and so turned his back to the screen and crossed his arms in front of him, to indicate that he had, had been a, uh, absentee at the...during the Nazi period. [Hans] Frank, the "Butcher of Poland," broke into tears. So did [Fritz] Sauckel, who was the, uh, labor tsar under under...The only person who looked at the screen with obvious glee and pleasure was [Julius] Streicher who was the so-called Gauleiter [Nazi regional leader] of, in, in Bavaria, uh, Franconia, and who had, uh, been the editor and publisher of this filthy rag the "Stuermer" [The Attacker], uh, "Stormtrooper" you might call it. He...this was his show. He felt that he was vindicated completely by that picture.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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