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Installation in Nuremberg allows you to see the trial of the Nazis – DW – 11/22/2022

In the Palace of Justice Nuremberg a media installation appeared showing the original scenes of the Nuremberg Trials against Nazi criminals. A fifteen-minute project called “Time Travel” allows visitors to travel back nearly 80 years, see jury roomalso referred to as “Room 600”, immerse yourself in the sound and visual images of a historic trial that has had a major impact on the development of international criminal law.

The installation, which has been part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum for the History of the Nuremberg Trials since November 21, is shown five times a day in German and English. The makers deliberately refrain from showing images of violence. At the same time, the project focuses on serious violations of human rights and war crimes.

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Film footage and photographs of the Nuremberg Trials, shown on two screens, complement the computer reconstruction of the historic site. The developers had a hard time choosing shots for the installation – after the resonant process of the second half of the 1940s, a total of 39 hours of original footage had been preserved!

In addition, the viewer is told about the basis of modern international criminal law, as well as about the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Tribunal for Rwanda.

Museum officials say visitors are often confused because historical photos of the high-profile trial make the courtroom appear larger and differently planned. The reason lies in the restructuring of the property. So for the lawsuit Nazi criminals one of the walls was demolished to make way for a gallery and balcony. In 1961 the wall was returned and the location of the places for the defendants, judges and those present at the trial changed.

Hall during the Nuremberg trials: different lighting, extra stands

The current idea is not the first attempt to return the hall to the form it was during the historical process. Then the jury benches were by the window and the room was lit differently. In addition, there were additional stands in the hall.

German politician Markus Söder in room 600 of the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg
German politician Markus Söder in room 600 of the Palace of Justice in NurembergPhoto: Daniel Karmann/dpa/dpa-Pool/photo alliance

In 2014, the then Bavarian finance minister Markus Söder planned to restore at least part of the hall. However, experts were against such a restructuring. Moreover, from the original wooden in the 1960s only two banks survived. When the Allies returned Hall No. 600 to the Higher Regional Court in the anti-Hitler coalition, first of all a large-scale cleaning was carried out there – and historical furniture was destroyed.

Ten-year quest “How to get to the historic hall”

The Museum of the History of the Nuremberg Trials opened in November 2010. At that time, Hall No. 600 was only available for visits on days off from court hearings, as the courthouse was still being used for its intended purpose. And during the meetings, visitors could theoretically look into the monumental building through one of the four windows mounted in the space above the hall.

Why theoretically? As Richard Caspar, then chairman of the Nuremberg Court’s Criminal Chamber of Judges and Juries, recalls, it is up to the president to decide whether an outsider in the . Kaspar himself emphasized shortly before the opening of the museum that he intended to darken these windows during ‘his’ trials. After all, the judge would not be able to stop one of the visitors to photograph and therefore he has “no choice but to prevent this possibility,” the man explained to reporters from the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It got to the point where international experts traveled thousands of miles to inspect the historic property – only to find themselves in front of closed doors, because a closed-door trial was underway in court that day!

The processes were later transferred to new premises and the hall has been available for daily visits since March 2020. The media installation, financed by the municipality and the national government, does not replace a walk through the museum, but it is a good addition to it.

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org