Student Question

Were all 24 Nazi soldiers at the Nuremberg trials prosecuted for their role in the Holocaust?

Expert Answers

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The men who were tried at Nuremberg (1945-1946) were not all held responsible and prosecuted for crimes relating to the Holocaust. To understand why, it is important to note a few key facts about these famous trials.

  • Only 21 Nazis were actually tried. Martin Bormann, for example, was tried in absentia while Dr Robert Ley committed suicide in his cell before the proceedings began. Another of the defendants, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halback, was declared too weak to face trial.
  • Many of these men were not actually soldiers. Julius Streicher, for instance, published an anti-Semitic newspaper but did not have a role in the actual extermination of the Jews or other minorities.
  • Some men were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Hans Fritzsche, for instance, worked in the news division of the Propaganda Ministry and was tried in place of Joseph Goebbels (who had committed suicide with his family). He was cleared of any crimes.

For a full list of the defendants, their crimes and verdicts, please see the reference link provided.

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