- William Dowdell Denson (1913-1998), U.S. Chief Prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at the concentration camp trials of Dachau, Mauthausen, Flossenbuerg and Buchenwald, held in Dachau, Germany. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Denson came from a family that had distinguished itself both in military and judicial service. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1934, Denson attended Harvard Law School, finishing in 1937. He then returned to Birmingham, where he started a private law practice. In 1942 Denson was invited back to West Point to serve as both a law instructor and the Assistant Staff Judge Advocate to the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy. In January 1945 Denson accepted the position of Judge Advocate General (JAG) in Europe and was assigned to Third Army headquarters in Germany. While stationed in Freising, Germany, Denson read about the liberation of Dachau in the army newspaper, Stars and Stripes. After taking part in more than 90 trials against Germans who had committed atrocities against downed American pilots, Denson was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and in August 1945 was called to serve as the Chief Prosecutor for the U.S. government at the Dachau concentration camp war crimes trial. As a result of his success in handling the trial, he was asked to serve as chief prosecutor for a series of concentration camp trials, including Mauthausen, Flossenbuerg, and Buchenwald. When these trials came to an end in early 1947, Denson returned to Birmingham, but soon moved to Washington, DC, to accept a position as co-chief legal counsel to the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1949 Denson married Countess Constance von Francken-Sierstorpff of Southampton, Long Island, with whom he had three children. In 1958 the family relocated to New York, where Denson went to work for a major law firm. Later, in 1980 he became senior litigator in a small firm in Mineola, N.Y. Denson remained in New York until his death at the age of 85.
[Sources: Denson, William. "Justice in Germany: Memories of the Chief Prosecutor." Mineola, N.Y., Meltzer, Lippe, et al. P.C., 1995; Greene, Joshua. "Justice at Dachau." New York, Broadway Books, 2003, pp.17-20; 320-356.]