NMT Case 3

The Justice Case


In the Justice Case, the United States prosecuted sixteen officials of the German Ministry of Justice, senior prosecutors, and judges for war crimes, crimes against humanity, conspiracy, and membership in criminal organizations. The specific crimes charged included the imprisonment or murder of political opponents of the Nazi regime and members of persecuted ethnic and religious groups, the sterilization of “racially impure” or disabled persons, the euthanizing of those unable to work, deportation and enslavement of workers, the plundering of private property, and torture. These crimes were committed through the regular state courts, which had been systematically converted into instruments of Nazi policy, and also through “special courts” and “people’s courts” that handled political cases and executed summary judgments and punishments. Seven defendants were charged with membership in the Nazi Leadership Corps, the SS (Himmler’s security agencies), or the SD (the Security Service), all of which had been ruled criminal organizations by the International Military Tribunal.

The trial lasted eleven months, and the evidence included more than 600 prosecution exhibits, 1400 defense exhibits, and the testimony of more than 100 witnesses. Of the sixteen defendants, one committed suicide, one mistrial was declared due to illness, four were acquitted, and ten received prison sentences.

Chronology Overview

4 Jan 1947Indictment filed
17 Feb 1947Arraignment
5 Mar 1947Prosecution opening statement
23 June 1947Defense opening statements
13-14 Oct 1947Prosecution closing statement
14-18 Oct 1947Defense closing statements
18 Oct 1947Prosecution rebuttal closing
18 Oct 1947Defendants’ final statements
3-4 Dec 1947Judgment of Tribunal
4 Dec 1947Sentences
18 Jan 1949Sentences affirmed by military governor
2 May 1949Writs of habeas corpus denied by U.S. Supreme Court

Persons Involved


Carrington T. Marshall, presiding judge
James T. Brand, judge
Mallory B. Blair, judge
Justin W. Harding, alternate
(Marshall retired due to illness in June; Brand became presiding judge and Harding became member judge)


Josef Altstoetter, chief of civil law and procedure division, Ministry of Justice; SS
Wilhelm von Ammon, counsellor of criminal legislation and administration division, Ministry of Justice
Paul Barnickel, senior public prosecutor, People’s Court; SA
Hermann Cuhorst, chief justice of special court and criminal senate, Stuttgart; SS
Karl Engert, chief of penal administration division, Ministry of Justice; SS
Guenther Joel, legal adviser to Minister of Justice; chief prosecutor, Westphalia; SS and SD
Herbert Klemm, state secretary, Ministry of Justice; SA
Ernst Lautz, chief public prosecutor, People’s Court
Wolfgang Mettgenberg, representative, criminal legislation and administration division, Ministry of Justice
Guenther Nebelung, chief justice of fourth senate, People’s Court; SA
Rudolf Oeschey, judge and chief justice of Special Court, Nuremberg (after Rothaug)
Hans Petersen, lay judge of first senate and special senate, People’s Court; SA
Oswald Rothaug, senior public prosecutor, People’s Court; chief justice, Special Court
Curt Rothenberger, state secretary, Ministry of Justice
Franz Schlegelberger, state secretary, acting Minister of Justice
Carl Westphal, counsellor, criminal legislation and administration, Ministry of Justice (committed suicide
before trial began)


Telford Taylor, chief of counsel
Charles M. LaFollette, deputy chief
Robert D. King, associate
Alfred M. Wooleyhan, associate
Sadie B. Arbuthnot, assistant
Defense counsel:
Rudolf Aschenauer, for Petersen
Richard Brieger, for Cuhorst
Karl Doetzer, for Nebelung
Heinrich Grube, for Lautz
Carl Haensel, for Joel
Rudolf Koessl, for Rothaug
Egon Kubuschok, for Von Ammon and Schlegelberger
Heinrich Link, for Engert (from July 31, 1947)
Hanns Marx, for Engert (to July 31, 1947)
Hermann Orth, for Altstoetter
Alfred Schilf, for Klemm and Mettenberg
Werner Schubert, for Oeschey
Edmund Tipp, for Barnickel
Erich Wandschneider, for Rothenberger


Count 1
  1. Common Design and Conspiracy: all defendants, from January 1933 to April 1945, to commit
  2. war crimes and crimes against humanity
Count 2
  1. War Crimes, from September 1939 to April 1945, against persons under German military control, including:
  2. Use of irregular courts to suppress opposition (all defendants)
  3. Special Court actions against targeted nationalities (von Ammon, Engert, Klemm, Schlegelberger,
  4. Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, Westphal)
  5. Imposition of German law to oppress occupied populations (Barnickel, Cuhorst, Klemm, Lautz,
  6. Mettgenberg, Nebelung, Oeschey, Petersen, Rothaug, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  7. Annexation of occupied territories (Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  8. Enforcement of Night and Fog decree (Altstoetter, von Ammon, Engert, Joel, Klemm,
  9. Mettgenberg, Schlegelberger)
  10. Execution of prisoners (Engert, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, Westphal)
  11. Sterilization and euthanasia (Lautz, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  12. Discriminatory prosecutions (von Ammon, Joel, Klemm, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger)
  13. Actions against Jews in Bohemia and Moravia (Altstoetter and Schlegelberger)
  14. Incitement of murder of Allied airmen (Klemm and Lautz)
Count 3, Crimes against Humanity, from September 1939 to April 1945, against German civilians and nationals of occupied territories, including:
  1. Use of irregular courts to suppress opposition (all defendants)
  2. Special Courts used against targeted nationalities (von Ammon, Engert, Klemm, Schlegelberger, Mettenberg, Rothenberger, Westphal)
  3. Use of German criminal laws against targeted nationalities (Barnickel, Cuhorst, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Nebelung, Oeschey, Petersen, Rothaug, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  4. Annexation of occupied territories (Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  5. Enforcement of Nigth and Fog decree (Altstoetter, von Ammon, Engert, Joel, Klemm, Mettenberg, Schlegelberger)
  6. Abuse and murder of prisoners (Engert, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, Westphal)
  7. Sterilization and euthanasia (Lautz, Schlegelberger, Westphal)
  8. Discriminatory prosecutions (von Ammon, Joel, Klemm, Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, Schlegelberger)
  9. Abuse of family and property, and citizenship laws against Jews and Poles (Altstoetter and Schlegelberger)
  10. Incitement of murder of Allied airmen (Klemm and Lautz)
Count 4, Membership in Criminal Organizations:
  1. Altstoetter, Cuhorst, Engert, and Joel for membership in the SS
  2. Cuhorst, Oeschey, Nebelung, and Rothaug for membership in the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party
  3. Joel for membership in the SD
  1. Acquitted: Barnickel, Cuhorst, Nebelung, and Petersen
  2. Convicted: Altstoetter, von Ammon, Joel, Klemm, Lautz, Mettgenberg, Oeschey, Rothaug, Rothenberger, and Schlegelberger all were given prison sentences
  3. Mistrial, due to illness: Engert
  4. Westphal was indicted but not tried because he committed suicide before the trial began

Detailed Chronology

17 Feb 1947Arraignment1-23
05 MarRules of procedure; prosecution opening statement24-139
6-7 MarPros. evidence, Doc book 1A140-230
7-10 MarDoc book 1B (and some of 1A)230-344
10-11 MarDoc book 1C345-405
11 MarDoc book 1D and 1E406-439
17 MarDoc book 1 corrections and supplements, book 2 (NG715)440-489
17 MarDoc book 3A489-519
18 MarDoc book 3A; Conrad Behltestimony520-588
19-20 MarBehl testimony589-754
21 MarBehl testimony; Doc book 3A755-843
24 MarDoc books 3A, 3B, 3C844-935
25 MarDoc book 3C936-1021
26 MarIrene Seiler testimony, Doc book 3C, 3D, 3E1022-1112
27 MarDoc book 3D, 3E, 3F, 3G1113-1205
28 MarDoc book 3E, 3G, 3H; Hugo Goeringer testimony1206-1298
29 Mar(missing; apparently covered showing of movie (NG 1019))(1299-1303)
31 MarKarl Ferber testimony1304-1389
01 AprFerber testimony; doc book 3H1390-1480
02 AprDoc book 3H, 3K, 3I1481-1575
03 AprKarl Ferber testimony; Doc book 3I, 3L1576-1664
08 AprFerber testimony1665-1749
09 AprFriedrich Doebig testimony1750-1836
10 AprDoebig testimony; Robert Havemann testimony1837-1920
11 AprHavemann testimony; Berthold Schwarz testimony1921-2007
14 AprSchwarz testimony; Rinatus Rimelin testimony2008-2096
15 AprMark Schaefer testimony; HannaSolf testimony2097-2187
16 AprSolf testimony2188-2239
17 AprDocuments for judicial notice (exhibits 248-251); Eberhard Schwarz testimony; Julius Diessem testimony2240-2340
18 AprDiessem testimony; Doc books 4A, 4B, 4C; Robert Hecker testimony; Doc books 7A, 7B2341-2410
21 AprDoc books 7B, 62411-2455
22 AprDoc books 6, 5A, 5C, Lorenz Eitner testimony2456-2537
23 AprDoc books 5C, 5D; reports on Czech. & Poland (ex 379), Geneva & Hague conventions (ex 380); Rudolf Lehmann testimony2538-2622
24 AprLehmann testimony; Josef Hachtestimony2623-2674
28 AprBenedict Wein testimony; Doc book 8A2675-2742
29 AprEdinger Ancker testimony; Hague convention; IMT judgment; Doc books 8A, 9A2743-2801
30 Aprtestimony: J. Hlavac; F. Gros; F.Elkar2802-2902
01 MayElkar testimony; IMT documents; Henry Einstein testimony2903-2976
02 MayDoc book 9B2977-3012
06 MayMiscellaneous business3013-3020
09 MayLuitpold Schosser testimony; Robert Hecker testimony; Eugen Eggensberger testimony; Doc book 1 Supplement A3021-3110
12 Maytestimony: Hecker; R. Klees; M.Dorfmueller3111-3197
13 MayDorfmueller testimony; John McLendon testimony; Doc book 4 Supplement; supplementary docs for books 1, 5, 6-83198-3282
14 MaySupplementary docs; Doc book 3 Supplement A; Horst Schmitt testimony; Doc book 3 Supplement B3283-3348
19 MayKarl Filbig testimony; Thomas Hodges testimony; misc supplementary docs; Doc book 3 Supplement B; Anni Muench testimony3349-3433
21 MayMisc documents; IMT opinion on slave labor3434-3467
22 MayDefense cross-examination of prosecution affiants: Eichinger, Kroher, Ostermayer, Rauh, Grueb, Brem3468-3564
23 MayCross-exam. of Mayer, Kunz, Baur, Schroeder, Groben, Escher3565-3641
27 MayCross-exam. of Pfaff, Hofmann,Markl, Wizigmann, Engert,Froboese, Buchholz3642-3725
28 MayCross-exam. of Buchholz, Lipps, Mueller, Paulus, Kern3726-3811
02 JunConference on witnesses3812-3816
03 JunCross exam. of Baeumler, Suchomel, Wergin, Gruenwald, Miethsam3817-3916
04 JunCross-exam. of Miethsam, Kern, Hoffmann, Schirmer, Prey, Huemmer, Roeder, Kassing3917-4018
05 JunCross-exam. of Roeder, Mayer; planning for defense cases4019-4052
23 JunGeneral planning; Dr. Kubuschokon general defense theory; opening statements for Schlegelberger, Klemm, Rothenberger, Lautz,Mettgenberg, von Ammon, Rothaug, Barnickel4053-4155
24 JunOpening statements for Joel, Petersen, Nebelung, Cuhorst, Oeschey, Altstoetter4156-4227
25 JunMotion against Count 1; Jahrreis testimony4228-4299
26 JunJahrreis testimony; Schlegelberger case begins4300-4372
27 JunSchlegelberger4373-4439
30 JunSchlegelberger4440-4511
01 JulRosenau testimony; Schlegelberger docs4512-4605
02 JulMeissner testimony; Schlegelberger docs4606-4699
03 JulH. Gramm testimony; Schlegelberger docs; Klemm case begins (4784)4700-4788
07 JulKlemm; testimony: R. Hecker, Wilhelm Miethsam4789-4876
08 JulMiethsam testimony; Klemm4877-4952
10 JulKlemm4953-5025
11 JulRuling on Count 1 (conspiracy); Klemm5026-5092
14 JulKlemm cross-examination5093-5186
15 JulKlemm; testimony: Hans Fritscheand Hans Altmeyer5187-5290
16 Jultestimony: Altmeyer, Eugen Eggensperger; Klemm ends (5324);Rothenberger begins5291-5378
17 JulRothenberger5379-5454
18 JulRothenberger5455-5487
21 JulRothenberger5488-5575
22 JulRothenberger; testimony: H.Lammers, W. von Steinaecker, E.Drescher, P. Eiffe5576-5674
23 JulEiffe testimony; Rothenberger ends (5692); Lautz begins5675-5777
24 JulLautz5778-5870
25 JulLautz5871-5958
28 JulLautz5959-6054
29 JulProceedings re Dr. Marx6055-xxxx
30 JulMarxzzzz-xxxx
31 JulMarx (6206); Lautz case ends;Mettgenberg begins (p6235)xxxx-6291
01 AugMettgenberg and O. Ehrhardt testimony, Mettgenberg ends; von Ammon case begins (p6377)6292-6380
04 Augvon Ammon ends (p6473); Joel (p6474)6381-6478
05 AugJoel6479-6566
06 AugJoel; Otto Lenz testimony; Joel docs6567-6657
07 AugKlemm docs; Lautz docs6658-6747
08 AugLautz docs6748-6753
11 AugRothaug case6754- 6827
12 AugRothaug6828-xxxx
13 AugRothaugxxxx-zzzz
14 AugRothaug; Karl Schroeder testimony7001-7089
15 AugTestimony: Schroeder, L. Denzler, H. Zimmermann, P. Ohler; docs7090-7178
18 AugRothaug7179-7268
19 AugRothaug7269-7357
20 AugRothaug; hearing on Engert(mistrial declared)7358-7405
21 AugRothaug; Arnold Buchthal testimony7406-7491
22 AugRothaug7492-7540
25 AugRothaug7541-7637
26 AugHearing on Rothenberger's health; Rothaug; Barnickel begins (p7649)7637-7731
27 AugBarnickel; Suchomel testimony7732-7827
28 AugBarnickel ends (p7901); defense doc books (Lautz 4A)7829-7915
29 AugDefense doc books (Lautz 4A-B, 5, Nebelung 1, Rothaug 2-5B, Lautz4Suppl); Cuhorst case begins (p7958)7916-8000
02 SepCuhorst8001-8093
03 SepCuhorst; Otto Kuestner testimony8094-8182
04 SepTestimony: Kuestner and W.Schoek (for Cuhorst); H.Loduchowski and W. Wiskott(prosecution)8183-8290
05 SepDefense docs: Rothenberger, Klemm, Joel, Oeschey, Petersen8291-8354
08 SepPros. docs; Cuhorst: Max Hegele & Max Stuber testimony, Cuhorstdocs, Arnulf Klett testimony8355-8436
09 SepH. Azesdorfer testimony, Cuhorstends (8510); Oeschey begins (8510)8437-8517
10 SepOeschey; G. Dechant testimony for Petersen; Oeschey8518-8595
11 SepOeschey8596-8684
12 SepOeschey8685-8785
15 SepOeschey, H. Markl and H. Hoffmann testimony, Oeschey docs (p8841); Altstoetter case begins (8841)8786-8878
16 SepAltstoetter case; Nebelung docs8879-8968
17 SepWitnesses: Werner Becher, Hans Hartmann, Hans Gramm8969-9074
18 SepWitnesses: W., W. Ohlckens, E.Wentzensen, E. Waldow9075-9164
19 SepWitnesses: Wentzensen, Waldow, Herbert Skok, Hans Timmermann, Wilhelm Weiss, Hans Willens, Isaac Waller9165-9262
22 SepWitnesses: H. Franke, H.Hagemann, G. Mitzschke, F. Ludwig, A. Helm, F. Herget; docs for Petersen, Lautz, Barnickel, Rothenberger, prosecution9263-9352
23 SepDocs for Petersen, Altstoetter,Rothaug9353-zzzz
25 SepDefense docs
26 SepDefense docs9578-9590
13 OctDefense docs9591-9620
13-14 OctPros. closing argument9620-9798
14 OctClosing argument appendices9798A-98PP
Defense final statements: Schlegelberger9799-9872
15 OctDefense final: Klemm, Lautz, Joel, Nebelung9873-10040
16 OctDefense final: Barnickel, Altstoetter, Oeschey, Petersen10041-10261
17 OctDefense final: Mettgenberg, Rothenberger, Rothaug, Cuhorst; prosecution amended appendices 3 and 510262-10487
18 OctDefense final: Cuhorst,10488-
3-4 DecJudgment of the Tribunal10606-10932a
4 DecPartial dissent by Judge Blair10933-10933bb
04 DecSentences imposed on those found guilty10934-10937