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Monday, October 10, 2016


Seventy years ago last October sentences handed down by the Nuremberg tribunals in 1946 were carried out in the gymnasium of the Nuremberg prison.

Ten prominent members of the political and military leadership of Nazi Germany were executed by hanging: Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher. Hermann Göring was also scheduled to be hanged on that day, but committed suicide using a potassium cyanide capsule the night before. Martin Bormann was also sentenced to death in absentia, but he was killed or committed suicide while attempting to escape Berlin in 1945.

The sentences were carried out by the United States Army’s Master Sergeant John C. Woods and his assistant, military policeman Joseph Malta.  Ten men were hanged in 102 minutes.

Kingsbury Smith of the International News Service wrote an eyewitness account of a reporter watching the hangings. His historical press account of it appeared with photos in newspapers of the day.

Nazi German leadership on trial at Nuremberg, Germany in 1946.  First row: Herman Goering,  Rudolf Hell, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbruner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm, Frick, Julius Streicher, Walter Funk, Hjalmar Schacht.  Second row: Karl Doenitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl, Franz von Papen, Artur Seyss-Inquart, Albert Speer, Konstantin von Neeurath, Hans Fritzsche.

Of the 21 in the photo 11 perished on that day.  Goering by suicide and ten by hanging.
Non lethal sentences:
         --Rudolf Hess (life)
         --Karl Doenitz (10 years)
         --Hans Fritzche (acquitted)
         --Franz von Papen (acquitted)
         --Baldur von Schirach (20 years served).
         --Hjalmar Schacht (aquitted)
         --Walter Funk (Life sentence—died 1960]
         --Konstantin von Neeurath (15 years)
         --Martin Bormann (tried in absentia to death by hanging).
         --Erich Raeder (Life imprisonment) died in 1960.
         --Albert Speer (20 years served—released in 1966; died in 1981).

Brief roster of charges:

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