Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
A small piece of Nuremberg comes to OlympiaSeptember 25, 2008
More than 50 years ago, the Washington State Supreme Court played a small but significant part in the historic trials at Nuremberg, Germany following World War II. Now some of that history is making its way back to the Court, and will be on display in the Washington State Law Library from October 2 through the end of November.
The library will launch its display with an open house on Oct. 2 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The library is located in the Temple of Justice on the Capital Campus in Olympia.
In 1946, state Supreme Court Justice Walter Beals had been on the high bench for more than 18 years when he was suddenly recalled into active duty by the U.S. Army. Beals had served in the Army during World War I and was still a reserve colonel. The Army sent Justice Beals to Nuremberg, where he served as presiding judge over the infamous Doctors’ Trial (U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal No. 1). In that trial, 23 German physicians and scientists were tried for conducting thousands of medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, and well as for their participation in the mass genocide conducted by Nazi officials. Beals presided over three other judicial officers in the long trial, which ended in seven death sentences, seven acquittals, and nine defendants sentenced to various terms in prison.
After nearly a year in Nuremberg, Beals returned to the Washington Supreme Court. He brought with him one of the few original mimeographed transcripts of the “Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals,” and the chair he used throughout the Doctor’s Trial. Both will be on display in the Law Library’s main reading room, along with other materials from the library’s collection on the Nuremberg trials. The chair is on loan from the University of Washington School of Law.
Also on view during the open house will be a demonstration of the library’s new video tutorial on Washington’s legislative history. The tutorial was created with a new software program that will allow the library to create videos on other topics in the future.
CONTACT: Wendy Coddington, senior library technician for the Washington State Law Library, (360) 357-2119.
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