Oral History

John Dolibois describes Justice Jackson's explanation of the purpose of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg

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.


Justice Jackson decided he would give a talk, a seminar, to all of the people connected with the prison. And the purpose of the seminar was to explain the International Tribunal, because again, none of us knew what this was all about, why we were having a tribunal, and who was going to participate. The organization of the tribunal, the fact that we were having four judges, and assistant judges, from each of the major nations participating, and prosecuting staff from each of the four nations. And the conduct of the whole trial, and what we were doing. And even the redesign, the rebuilding, of the Palace of Justice, which had been heavily bombed. We had SS men who were doing hard labor on building the tribunal room, which was ironic again, I thought, because their high-ranking leaders are going to be tried in the courtroom they were repairing in the building they were reconstructing for this purpose. So Jackson's purpose was to explain this to us, and that was the first detailed account I'd ever received, the only one for that matter, of what the purpose of the trial was and what we were doing and had been doing and why we had been doing it.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
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