January 18, 2022

Stanford Scholars Expand Digital Database with Historic Records From The Nuremberg Trial

From Stanford News:

Nearly 75 years ago, the Nuremberg Trial came to a close when on Oct. 1, 1946, a group of convicted Nazi leaders was sentenced by the International Military Tribunal (IMT) for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during World War II and the Holocaust.


Preserving records from the Nuremberg Trial – as well as materials from the subsequent tribunals and truth and reconciliation commissions it inspired – is crucial to protecting the historic and judicial legacies of the war and acknowledging the consequences of mass atrocities, said David Cohen, director of the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice and professor of classics in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

“‘Never again’ doesn’t mean anything unless you know what has happened and why,” said Cohen, who has partnered with Stanford Libraries to digitally archive the records and create a searchable website for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945-1946).

For the past seven years, Stanford Libraries has been working with the Registry of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to obtain a complete digital corpus of the Nuremberg Trial in support of the Virtual Tribunal of the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

Building a digital space for the archives is part of Cohen’s and the Libraries’ larger vision to create a comprehensive database, known as the Virtual Tribunals Initiative, of all international criminal proceedings that deal with mass atrocities, starting from post-WWII court proceedings to contemporary cases like the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor (SPSC) or similar international criminal tribunals for Rwanda, Sierra Leone or the former Yugoslavia.

Thanks to a grant from Tad Taube and Taube Philanthropies, now, on the 75th anniversary of the first major international war crimes trial ending, a significant new collection of digital materials will be made available to the public. Launching Oct. 1 is an expanded repository of digital records, preserved in cooperation with the ICJ in the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR).


Documents in the Taube Archive have been converted into digital files using optical character recognition technology that turns printed materials, including handwritten, typed or scanned paper files, into an electronic format that can be easily searched.


At this stage of the project, users will be able to explore digital surrogates of trial records, including transcripts of the court hearings in English, French, German and Russian; case files; trial briefs; evidentiary exhibits filed by the prosecution and the defense; opening and closing statements; final pleas; procedural rules, orders, judgments, dissenting opinions and sentences. At a later date, more multimedia – such as film, audio recordings, photographs – will be added to the collection.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.