From May 1945 until October 1946, United States Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson served, by appointment of President Truman, as U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis War Criminals in the European Theater.
During that period, Justice Jackson spent the first few months organizing and working with his staff, gathering and analyzing evidence, and conducting international diplomacy, in Washington and in Paris and mostly in London.
Beginning in September 1945, Jackson spent most of his time in Nuremberg in Allied-occupied former Germany, serving before the International Military Tribunal as U.S. chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals.
In Nuremberg, Justice Jackson and his immediate staff—his son and executive assistant Lieutenant William E. Jackson, his secretary Mrs. Elsie L. Douglas, and his bodyguard Private Moritz Fuchs—lived in a large house located at Lindenstrasse 33, in Dambach, Fürth, the city adjacent to Nuremberg. The U.S. Army had seized the house from its German owners. U.S. soldiers guarded the street and the perimeter of the property. Army drivers, always varying their routes, ferried Jackson and his team between the house, the Palace of Justice courthouse, and other Nuremberg and area locations.
For Justice Jackson, Lindenstrasse 33 became home, his place to eat and sleep. Except for his time away on trips elsewhere in Europe and in the Middle East, he lived in the house from September 15, 1945, until July 31, 1946.
For Jackson, the house was more than his residence. It also was his office away from the courthouse. It was a place where he held many important staff conferences. He also used its relative quiet to read, think, and write.
Lindenstrasse 33 also was Justice Jackson’s place to entertain. He often hosted, at the house, his colleagues from the U.K., the U.S.S.R., and France, his regular “very important” visitors from the U.S. and other nations, and many members of his staff. At Christmastime 1945, for instance, Jackson hosted, at the house, holiday parties, meals, and caroling around a Christmas tree.
During Justice Jackson’s time at Lindenstrasse 33, he was served in the house by a German staff. An older woman cooked. A younger woman assisted her and was a chambermaid. An older man stoked the heat and performed maintenance and yard work. A younger man, who dressed formally for work, was the waiter.
* * *
Justice Jackson, following his return to the U.S. and Supreme Court service in 1946, maintained contact with his former Nuremberg house waiter, Joseph Ullrich. In 1947, for example, Jackson sent a C.A.R.E. (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, Inc.) package to Ullrich, who was still living and working in Nuremberg.
Mr. Ullrich responded, in imperfect English, by typing and sending Jackson this letter of gratitude:
Often I have been thinking of you and ——– yesterday it was a delightful day for me and my family when I get to my great surprise and joy your Care-package.
My family and myself say you many, hearty thanks for it. It is very kind of you that you were thinking so of your waiter in Nuremberg.
At present there are four trials in the court of Justice. …
I hope that you will come again one day.
Please give my compliments to your son and your niece (secretary).
With best compliments to you and your family, I remain Dear Sir,
/s/ J.L. Ullrich
In 1950, Justice Jackson sent Mr. Ullrich a Christmas card and gifts—perhaps another C.A.R.E. package.
In early January 1951, Jackson followed up with a letter—perhaps to check if the first mailing had arrived.
In February 1951, Joseph Ullrich sent back another typed letter to Justice Jackson:
I gladly received your X-mas—card as well as the letter of Jan. 9th.
A big surprise was the Christmas-box, arriving in January. It meant much gladness to me and I wish to express to you, dear Mr. Robert H. Jackson, my most heartfelt thanks for it.
For the future I take the liberty to wish you happiness, success and good health[.]
/s/ J.L. Ullrich
* * *
In this season, I wish you happy holidays, Merry Christmas, success, and good health.
And I wish you good care—I hope that you get lots of it, and that you give it, with thanks, for as long as you can, to many others in your life.
This post was emailed to the Jackson List, a private but entirely non-selective email list that reaches many thousands of subscribers around the world. I write to it periodically about Justice Robert H. Jackson, the Supreme Court, Nuremberg and related topics. The Jackson List archive site is http://thejacksonlist.com/. To subscribe, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your interest, and for spreading the word.