Human Rights After Hitler – in the news!

Following the release of Human Rights After Hitler, we’ve been delighted at the extensive positive press coverage – including an interview NPR, and articles in Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, the Independent, the Deutsche Welle, CBS, Radio News ABC Australia, PassBlue and a whole host of other media outlets. For more details, check out Georgetown University Press’ media and review page here!

The story of the UNWCC’s work is extremely important, both for reasons of historical record, and for its relevance today. For nearly 70 years, it was an untold (and suppressed) story, but it is an honour to discuss and recognise – at last – its work in trying to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.


Hitler in the charge files of the UNWCC

Of the many surprising documents in the UNWCC’s archive, one of the most striking would be the indictment for Adolf Hitler.

The idea that ‘ordinary foot soldiers’ were accused in detailed, secret, well-documented files is one thing; seeing the preparatory trial documents for infamous high-ranking Nazis (many of whom never stood trial) is quite another. With this in mind, here’s some of the sample indictment documents for Adolf Hitler:

The five pages of indices for charges against Hitler. Most of this is self-explanatory; the ‘File No.’ refers to the UNWCC’s own charge number, then an abbreviation for the accusing country, then an abbreviation for the defendant’s country, then that country’s charge number. Click for more detail!

As might be expected, Hitler was listed as a defendant for a great many Nazi crimes – most accused war criminals only have one or two entries – but it’s striking that Hitler’s actions were addressed in the same regularised legal system.

Let’s take a closer look at one (or at least, its front page).

The front page for just one of the many charges against Hitler, this one levelled by noted Czech jurist Bohuslav Ecer in December 1944. Click for more detail!

Like with the index above, a few thinks are striking about this page. It is an extremely ambitious case – addressing several leading Nazis, for a wide range of crimes – but it is also a very ‘normal’ one by the standards of the UNWCC. Hitler’s crimes – great as they were – were recognised to be prosecutable within the framework of complementary international/domestic law, even while the war in Europe was still raging.