Tag Archives: Justice Jackson

Jackson List: Holidays & Memories

Thank you all, the past year’s many newcomers and all of the past years’ veterans.  I truly appreciate your interest in the Jackson List, your “forwards,” your recruitments of new subscribers, and your comments.

For your reading in this season, here are some previous Jackson List posts that relate to the holidays:

  • “Heartfelt Words, Good Will & Wishes True (1913) (click here)
  • “Christmas Cards from Nuremberg (November 1945)” (click here)
  • “Lighting the First Candle:  Holocaust Film and Chanukah at Nuremberg, 1945” (click here)
  • “Holiday Note, Chief to Staff (December 1945)” (click here)
  • “Jackson in the Holiday Season” (click here)
  • “Christmas Celebration, Nuremberg, 1945” (click here)
  • “Jackson on Holiday in Athens, December 22, 1945” (click here)
  • “Supreme Court at Christmastime (1951)” (click here)

These and many more posts are on the Jackson List archive site, which is word- and phrase-searchable:  http://thejacksonlist.com/.   (Thank you, Michael Zhang.)

Lindenstrasse Christmas party

*          *          *

On this date in 1945, Justice Jackson, as United States chief of counsel in Nuremberg, was one month into trial work before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), prosecuting the principal Nazi war criminals.

Last month, on the 70th anniversary of the trial’s commencement, I had the honor of participating in the City of Nuremberg’s commemoration event, held in Palace of Justice Courtroom 600, the trial site.  After delivering an introductory lecture, I moderated a conversation with three men who worked in the IMT trial process:

  • Yves Beigbeder, then an assistant to the French judge;
  • Father Moritz Fuchs, then the bodyguard of Justice Jackson; and
  • George Sakheim, then a U.S. interpreter and translator.

For streaming video of the event, click here.  After welcoming remarks (in German) from Nuremberg’s Lord Mayor and then the Vice President of the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court, my lecture (in English) begins at 16:45, followed by the group conversation (in English) beginning at 30:40.

The conversation was and is, thanks to these great men and their memories, quite wonderful and very powerful.  I encourage you, in a quiet time during your (I hope) holiday break, to view it.  It shines new light on the enduring importance of the international decision to conduct a Nuremberg trial as the decision makers and participants of 1945 and 1946 did; on the principles that they followed and advanced; on the evidentiary proof that they gathered and presented, for the case and for history; and on how all of that is a young, growing, hopeful part of our time and the years ahead.

Jackson List: The Nuremberg Trial Begins (1945)

This post now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List:  First Mondays

This post now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.  It includes direct links to other “First Monday” Jackson List posts.

Jackson List: A Justice Back, A Justice Welcomed, A Justice Away (September 1945)

This post, including images of Justice Felix Frankfurter’s September 19, 1945, three-page handwritten letter to new Justice Harold H. Burton, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List: London Agreement (1945)

This post, with an August 8, 1945, photograph of Lord Chancellor Jowitt, Justice Jackson and Judge Falco signing the London Agreement, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List: Choosing Courtroom 600 (July 1945)

This post, with a July 21, 1945, photograph of Justice Jackson and his travel party arriving at an airfield near Nuremberg, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List:  A Supreme Court Justice Resigns (June 1945)

This post, with some footnotes and a photograph of Justice Roberts’s June 30, 1945, retirement letter to Chief Justice Stone, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List: Meeting Ike (May 1945)

In late May 1945, Justice Robert H. Jackson and his fellow justices were nearing the conclusion of their Supreme Court term.  They had finished hearing oral arguments in new cases and were writing, editing and handing down opinions.  On Monday, May 21st, for example, Jackson announced three opinions for the Court—“the last of [his] crop,” as he described it, of Court opinions for the term.

Justice Jackson at that time also was four weeks into his assignment, from President Truman, to serve as United States chief of counsel in the international trial of now-surrendered Nazis whom the Allies regarded as war criminals.  He continued to do Supreme Court work as he needed to, but since late April his “Nazi prosecutor” job was his priority and filled most of his time.

On Thursday, May 22nd, Jackson left Washington to make a preliminary survey of the situation in Europe.  He took off from Washington that afternoon and, after airplane refueling stops in Newfoundland and the Azores, he arrived in Paris just after 1:00 a.m. local time on May 24th.

General Edward C. Betts, United States Army Judge Advocate of the European theatre, met Justice Jackson at the Paris airfield.  He decided, after conferring quickly in the officers’ lounge there with Gen. Betts and other senior U.S. officials, to stay for a day or two in Paris, working on the Paris-based needs of the case before travelling to consultations in London.  The Army then drove Jackson to the Ritz, where he stayed in “a suite big enough and grand enough for a royal family” and got five or six hours of sleep.

Jackson’s May 24th day was filled with high level consultations.  He first met with Gen. Betts at his office.  His secretary, a British “Wren” (a Women’s Royal Naval Service officer), became Jackson’s, helping him make appointments.  A senior aide to General Lucius Clay, the Director of the Military Government of Germany, came from its Versailles headquarters to meet Jackson.  They went to the airport and met Jackson’s deputy, General William J. Donovan of the Office of Strategic Services.  (At the airport, Jackson also ran into and spoke briefly with his Washington friends and colleagues Harry Hopkins, Averell Harriman and Robert Lovett.)  Jackson then had a lunch meeting with Donovan and OSS staff back at the Ritz.  During the afternoon, Jackson had more meetings with Betts and others at his office.  At 4:00 p.m., Jackson met with Jefferson Caffrey, the U.S. Ambassador to France.  At 5:00, Jackson drove out to Versailles and had a long meeting with Gen. Clay.  At 7:30, Jackson returned to Paris and was introduced to U.S. Army Major Lawrence A. Coleman, a young lawyer who had been assigned to serve as Jackson’s military aide; they reviewed local messages and Washington cables for Jackson.

Following dinner at the Ritz, Jackson took a long walk with Col. John Harlan Amen of his staff.  Paris was moonlit but otherwise poorly lighted.  They saw few people out.  Burned tanks and vehicles lined roadsides.  Barbed wire and former Nazi pillboxes were everywhere.  Luxury shops appeared well-stocked.  Stores for ordinary customers seemed to have no stock.

On Friday morning, May 25th—seventy years ago yesterday—Jackson returned to Gen. Betts’s office.  He reported that the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, was in Paris.  Jackson telephoned and Eisenhower invited him and Betts to meet with Eisenhower at his room at the Hotel Raphael.

Although Jackson and Eisenhower had each lived at various times in Washington, D.C.’s Wardman Park apartment building, they had never met.  At the Raphael, Eisenhower greeted Jackson cordially.  Eisenhower explained that he was there to get a day’s rest.

They discussed Jackson’s presidential assignment to prosecute war criminals.  Eisenhower said he did not support shooting anybody without a trial and hoped that trials would not take long.  Jackson explained his preliminary plan to prosecute the Gestapo as a criminal organization, and then to prosecute Gestapo members for the crime of belonging to that organization.  Eisenhower stated his support—he said he had seen so much that in his eyes “any bastard who belonged to that outfit is guilty”.

Jackson asked Eisenhower where the principal Nazi prisoners—the prospective defendants—were being held.  Betts injected that he was asking the War Department for authority to keep them in jail rather than in prisoner of war camps.  Eisenhower said not to bother Washington—simply put the suspected criminals in jail on his responsibility.

Eisenhower stated his full authorization for any war criminal trials, pledging the Army’s full cooperation.  He told Betts to get more men if they were needed.

Jackson, in a later diary note, wrote his initial impression of Eisenhower:  “He is practical, decently profane, and a most impressive leader.”

Jackson List: Presidential Assignment (May 1945)

This post, with photos of President Truman, Judge Rosenman and Justice Jackson, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Jackson List: Gordon Dean, DOJ & AG Jackson’s “Federal Prosecutor” Speech (1940)

This post, updated with some footnotes and a photograph of Robert Jackson and Gordon Dean in Nuremberg in 1945, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.