Robert D. King Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Judges' Trial (or the Justice Trial, or, officially, The United States of America vs. Josef Altstötter, et al.) was the third of the 12 trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).
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Robert D. King born 22 November 1912 in Wirthington, Minnesota. He received his undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (M.A.) degrees from the University of Iowa. He was an instructor (English) at Purdue University before enrolling in Yale Law School in 1940, graduating in 1943. Mr. King was employed as a corporate lawyer with a Wall Street firm before taking a leave of absence to serve as Associate Counsel in Case 3 (Justice Case) in Nuremberg, Germany. Returning to the United States in 1952, Mr. King settled in Connecticut, practicing law in Vernon, CT. Mr. King represented the 48th District in the Connecticut General Assembly in the late 1960s and early 1970s before serving as Town Counsel for the towns of Ellington and Tolland. AFter retirement, Mr. King continued to be actively interested in government and local affairs. Robert King died 25 September 1998 at his home in Tolland, Connecticut.
Better known as "The Justice Case", Case No. 3: U.S. v. Joseph Alstötter et al. was a separate trial for members of the German judicial system. The defendants included nine officials in the Reich Ministry of Justice and several prosecutors of the People's Court and the Special Courts. As representatives of a Nazi judicial system that persecuted Poles, Jews, and others in occupied territories, they were accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Of the fifteen defendants, Franz Schlegelberger was the highest-ranking official, having served as Acting Reich Minister of Justice between 1941-1942.
Case no. 3 was heard by the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT) III, and was part of a second set of twelve trials that focused on the mechanisms of Nazi aggression. The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal III, were Carrington T. Marshall (presiding judge), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio; James T. Brand, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon; Mallory B. Blair, formerly judge of the Third Court of Appeals of Texas; and Justin Woodward Harding of the Bar of the State of Ohio as an alternate judge. Marshall had to retire due to illness on June 19, 1947, at which point Brand became president and Harding a full member of the tribunal.
The prosecution counsel, composed entirely of Americans, included Chief of Counsel Brigadier General Telford Taylor, Deputy Chief Counsel Charles M. LaFollette, Associate Counsels Robert D. King and Alfred M. Wolleyhan, and Assistant Counsel Sadie B. Arbuthnot. The defendants were represented individually by German lawyers.
The defendants in this case were 16 German jurists and lawyers. Nine had been officials of the Reich Ministry of Justice, the others were prosecutors and judges of the Special Courts and People's Courts of Nazi Germany. They were—amongst other charges—held responsible for implementing and furthering the Nazi "racial purity" program through the eugenic and racial laws.
The indictment was presented on January 4, 1947; the trial lasted from March 5 to December 4, 1947. Ten of the defendants were found guilty; four received sentences for lifetime imprisonment, the rest received prison sentences of varying lengths. Four persons were acquitted of all charges.
Josef Altstötter 5 years, incl. time already served; released 1950; died 1979 in Nuremberg Wilhelm von Ammon(de) 10 years, incl. time already served; released January 31 1951 by John J. McCloy; died 1992 Barnickel(de) acquitted; died 1966 in München Hermann Cuhorst(de) acquitted; died 1991 in Kressbronn am Bodensee Karl Engert(de) mistrial declared due to illness; died 8 September 1951 Günther Joël(de) 10 years, incl. time already served, released January 31, 1951; time of death unknown Herbert Klemm(de) lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years released 1956. time of death unknown Ernst Lautz(de) 10 years, incl. time already served-released January 1951; died 1979 in Lübeck Wolfgang Mettgenberg(de) 10 years, incl. time already served; died 1950 in Landsberg Prison Günther Nebelung(de) acquitted; died 1970 in Seesen Rudolf Oeschey(de) lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years released 1956; died September 12, 1980 in Neuss Hans Petersen(de) acquitted; died in 1963 Oswald Rothaug lifetime imprisonment; commuted to 20 years and released 22 December 1956; died 1967 in Köln Curt Rothenberger 7 years, incl. time already served; released 1950. died 1959 in Hamburg Franz Schlegelberger lifetime imprisonment; released 1950 for "Health reasons"; died 1970 in Flensburg Carl Westphal(de) committed suicide 1946 after the indictment, but before the beginning of the trial.
46 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection contains materials acquired by Mr. King during his involvement with the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg as a prosecutor in the justice case.
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- Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals (Nuremberg, Germany : 1945-1946) Subject Source: Fast
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- Robert D. King Papers
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