Oral History

John Dolibois describes attitude of captured Nazi leaders

John Dolibois immigrated to the United States in 1931 at the age of 13. After graduating from college, Dolibois joined the 16th Armored Division of the US Army. Due to his German language skills, he became involved in military intelligence. He returned to Europe in this capacity toward the end of World War II. Dolibois interrogated German prisoners of war, including leading Nazis, in preparation for the postwar trials of war criminals. He was later appointed US ambassador to Luxembourg, his birthplace.


First of all they didn't believe that they were anything but prisoners of war. To tell them "you're going to have a trial, and you're going to be tried," that is something that wasn't in their book. They had nothing in the Geneva Convention or the Warsaw treaty that says if you lose the war and you're arrested and you become a prisoner, you might be tried for your crimes. I mean, what is a war crime? That had never been decided until the Nuremberg trial.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
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