I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (about the impact of bystanders. This is something we need to act on today)
this day in 1945, the Nuremberg Trials of twenty-three Nazi war criminals
started at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. The trials were convened by
the victorious Allied forces of World War Two to settle the question of reparations, and, most importantly, to punish the leading figures of the Nazi regime responsible for atrocities during the conflict, including the systematic murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust. The set of trials which began on November 20th lasted
until October 1st 1946 and dealt with the surviving major war criminals including Reichsmarschall and Commander of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring, Deputy
Führer Rudolf Hess, and Minister of Armaments Albert Speer. Twelve were
sentenced to death, seven imprisoned (three for life), and three acquitted. Several of the defendants, including Göring, committed suicide before their execution, emulating other leading Nazis like Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels, who committed suicide at the
end of the war.
“Opening the first trial in history against the peace of
the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to
condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so
devastating that civilisation cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated” - The opening words of the Chief Prosecutor, US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson’s, indictment
He has said that he does not consider himself a perpetrator but merely a small cog in a machine. But if he were sitting here today wearing his SS uniform, I would tremble and all the horror that I experienced as a 13-year-old would return to me.
Any person who wore that uniform in that place represented terror and the depths to which humanity can sink, regardless of what function they performed.
84-year old Irene Weiss, survivor of Auschwitz, speaking on the stand at the trial of Oskar Gröning