The Ritz Herald
Judges’ Bench, Nuremberg Trials. © National Archives and Records Administration, College Park

US Holocaust Memorial Museum Makes Available Full Sound Recordings of Trials and Film Used as Evidence in War Crimes Proceedings


75th Anniversary of Nuremberg Trials

Published on November 20, 2020

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has made available online the full sound recordings of the War Crimes Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) established in Nuremberg, Germany, commonly referred to as the Nuremberg Trials. Additionally, the film evidence presented by the World War II Allied prosecutors at the trial is now available for online viewing. The collection consists of 1,942 gramophone discs holding 775 hours of hearings and 37 reels of film used as evidence in the trials.

The sound content can be found on the Museum’s website here, and the film can be found here. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, is the custodian of the original IMT materials and has granted permission to the Museum to make them available online in time for the 75th anniversary of the start of the trials.

“The Nuremberg Trials mark the first time that an international court indicted defendants for perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Dr. Rebecca Boehling, Director of the National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The 24 major Nazi officials indicted by the Allied victors–with American, British, French and Soviet judges presiding over the IMT– represent only a tiny fraction of the perpetrators. Yet the Nuremberg trials documented in a court of law with international press coverage the historical truth of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes. The IMT Proceedings set lasting legal precedents that nations have a duty to protect civilians from atrocities and to punish those who commit them. Putting this important historical documentation online to view and to listen to is part of our ongoing efforts to digitize and make accessible the evidence of the Holocaust.”

The Museum, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, and the ICJ collaborated to digitize the recordings, a process which took two years and was the culmination of the ICJ’s broader project, initiated in the early 2000s, to digitize the entire IMT archives. More information on the IMT archives at the ICJ is available here.

“The Museum is deeply grateful to the International Court of Justice for permitting us to make this content available to the public,” continues Boehling. “In a time when Holocaust distortion and denial are on the rise, providing access to the evidence of these crimes is critically important.”

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires people to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors nationwide.

Deputy Editor