- Yevgeny Khaldei
1945 October 18 - 1946 October 01
- Nuremberg, [Bavaria] Germany
- Variant Locale
- Event History
- The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg opened in the fall of 1945, but by the winter of 1942, the governments of the Allied powers had already announced their determination to punish Nazi war criminals. On December 17, 1942, the leaders of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union issued the first joint declaration officially noting the mass murder of European Jewry and resolving to prosecute those responsible for violence against civilian populations. Though some political leaders advocated for summary executions instead of trials, eventually the Allies decided to hold an International Military Tribunal so that, in the words of Cordell Hull, "a condemnation after such a proceeding will meet the judgment of history, so that the Germans will not be able to claim that an admission of war guilt was extracted from them under duress." The October 1943 Moscow Declaration, signed by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin, stated that at the time of an armistice persons deemed responsible for war crimes would be sent back to those countries in which the crimes had been committed and adjudged according to the laws of the nation concerned. Major war criminals, whose crimes could be assigned no particular geographic location, would be punished by joint decisions of the Allied governments.
The trials of leading German officials before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), the best known of the postwar war crimes trials, formally opened in Nuremberg on November 20, 1945, only six and a half months after Germany surrendered. Each of the four Allied nations -- the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and France -- supplied a judge and a prosecution team. Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence of Great Britain served as the court's presiding judge. The trial's rules were the result of delicate reconciliations of the Continental and Anglo-American judicial systems. A team of translators provided simultaneous translations of all proceedings in four languages: English, French, German, and Russian. After much debate, 24 defendants were selected to represent a cross-section of Nazi diplomatic, economic, political, and military leadership. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels never stood trial,having committed suicide before the end of the war. The IMT decided not to try them posthumously so as not to create an impression that they might still be alive. In fact, only 21 defendants appeared in court. German industrialist Gustav Krupp was included in the original indictment, but he was elderly and in failing health, and it was decided in preliminary hearings to exclude him from the proceedings. Nazi Party secretary Martin Bormann was tried and convicted in absentia, and Robert Ley committed suicide on the eve of the trial.
The IMT indicted the defendants on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The IMT defined crimes against humanity as "murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation...or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds." A fourth charge of conspiracy was added both to cover crimes committed under domestic Nazi law before the start of World War II and so that subsequent tribunals would have jurisdiction to prosecute any individual belonging to a proven criminal organization. Therefore the IMT also indicted several Nazi organizations deemed to be criminal, namely the Reich Cabinet, the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, the Elite Guard (SS), the Security Service (SD), the Secret State Police (Gestapo), the Stormtroopers (SA), and the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces.
The defendants were entitled to a legal counsel of their choosing. Over 400 visitors attended the proceedings each day, as well as 325 correspondents representing 23 different countries. American chief prosecutor Robert Jackson decided to argue his case primarily on the basis of mounds of documents written by the Nazis themselves rather than eyewitness testimony so that the trial could not be accused of relying on biased or tainted testimony. Testimony presented at Nuremberg revealed much of what we know about the Holocaust including the details of the Auschwitz death machinery, the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto, and the estimate of six million Jewish victims.
The judges delivered their verdict on October 1, 1946. Agreement among three out of four judges was needed for conviction. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death, among them Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg, and Julius Streicher. They were hanged, cremated in Dachau, and their ashes were dropped in the Isar River. Hermann Goering escaped the hangman's noose by committing suicide the night before. The IMT sentenced three defendants to life imprisonment and four to prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. It acquitted three of the defendants.
Rights & Restrictions
- Photo Source
Copyright: Exclusively with sourceUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Robert KempnerSource Record ID: Collections: 2001.62/Nuremberg 28: F1
- NOT FOR RELEASE without the permission of the Sovfoto/Eastfoto
Keywords & Subjects
- Yevgeny Khaldei (1917-1997), Russian photographer of Jewish origin, who became a renown photo journalist during World War II, covering the war from Murmansk to Sevastopol and from Moscow to Berlin. Born to a Jewish family living in Yuzovka (later Stalino and Donetsk) Ukraine, Khaldei lost his mother during a pogrom that took place in his hometown when he was one year old. She died trying to shield him, and the bullet that killed her lodged in his chest. Following her death the family moved in with Khaldei's grandparents in Stalino. After completing only four grades of elementary school, Khaldei was forced to leave school in 1930 in order to get work to help feed the family during the great Ukrainian famine. Lying about his age, he got a job in the railroad shop of a steel factory. Even before leaving school Khaldei had developed an interest in photography from his exposure to the new illustrated Soviet magazines. His first camera was one he built himself in 1932 out of a cardboard box and a pair of eyeglasses, following a diagram he found in a magazine. The next year he got his first real camera, a Soviet-made Leica, which he acquired as a prize for depositing money in a local bank. With his new camera Khaldei began taking pictures, which appeared first in his factory newspaper and later in city and district publications. In those years the young photographer took pictures celebrating factory workers and agricultural laborers on the new collective farms. In 1935 Khaldei was invited to Moscow to take a professional photography course offered by Fotokhronika of Soyuzfoto (which later became the TASS wire service). There, he studied with such leading photographers as Semyon Fridlyand, Arkady Shaikhet and Max Alpert. After completing the course Khaldei returned to Stalino. Though he was promised a job with Fotokhronika, it was another year before he could find housing and secure a residence permit that would allow him to move to Moscow and take up his position. Khaldei ultimately moved in with a Jewish tailor named Israil Solomonovich Kishitser, a friend of his father, who would later sew the three flags that Khaldei photographed hanging in Berlin in 1945. His career as a photo journalist for Fotokhronika/Tass was put on hold in 1937 when he was drafted and sent to the Finnish border, but he returned to the wire service immediately after he was demobilized in the fall of 1939. In the first year of World War II Khaldei covered the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland and the expulsion of Polish refugees by the NKVD (secret police) to the Soviet interior. The photographer was in Moscow when news arrived of the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 21, 1941. Immediately he was sent to the Murmansk front. Though officially a navy lieutenant, Khaldei was not involved in combat during the war. He enjoyed a high level of independence in deciding where to travel (within a general area) and what to photograph, and for the first time in his career, was free of the restraints imposed by Soviet socialist realism. While Khaldei was still in the north, the Germans overran his hometown of Stalino in October 1941 and murdered its Jewish population, including all of Khaldei's family. From Murmansk, Khaldei followed the Red Army south to the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Kerch, covering the fighting there from the winter of 1943 to the spring of 1944. In the fall of 1944 Khaldei accompanied the Red Army on its march into Europe and covered the liberation of all the major capitals, Bucharest, Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna and Berlin. It was Khaldei who set up and took the famous photograph of Red Army soldiers hanging the Soviet flag over the burning Reichstag on May 2, 1945. After the German surrender Khaldei, who had become something of a court photographer for Stalin, covered the Potsdam conference, and later the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In October 1945 Khaldei married his girlfriend Svetlana, who had worked in the photography department at the Sovinformburo during the war. Soon after they had two children, Anna and Leonid. Khaldei's privileged status ended abruptly in 1948 with the onset of Stalin's anti-cosmopolitan campaign that targeted prominent Jews in a wide range of fields. For the next ten years he eked out a living doing film development work. His situation began to improve only after the death of Stalin in 1953. In 1959 Khaldei was hired by the leading Soviet newspaper, Pravda. He continued to work there until 1976, when he was forced out by a new wave of anti-Semitism. It was not until 1995 that Khaldei began to get world recognition for his wartime photography. Exhibitions of his work were mounted in Berlin and New York and his pictures were reprinted in anniversary issues of magazines throughout Europe.
[Source: Nakhimovsky, Alexander and Alice (eds.). Witness to History: The Photographs of Yevgeny Khaldei. New York, Aperture, 1997, pp.4-13.]
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