Online Module: The Holocaust and Fundamental Rights

Doc 8: The Nuremberg Military Tribunal

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"The hard struggle for justice" – the defence of Franz Schlegelberger, who was indicted in the course of the Justice case by the US Military Prosecution in Nuremberg in 1947.

The former State Secretary and acting Reichs Minister Franz Schlegelberger spokes his final plea of not guilty before the Tribunal of Case III, commonly known as the “Justice Case”, Nuremberg 1947, Yad Vashem

Final statement of defendant Schlegelberger at the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Case 3


18 October 1947.

These words of Pope Gregor VII are world-famous: ‘I loved justice and hated arbitrariness; therefore, I die in exile.’

I feel confident that your judgment will save me from that fate. But I, too, in imprisonment, could not overcome the bitterness of being rewarded for my hard struggle for justice by this period of shame and misery. The charges and insults of the prosecutor do not apply to me. My life is not compatible with the intention of crime. The attempt to destroy the alleged myth around my person by showering abuse at a man who has aged honourably was bound to fail. The Goering affair has been cleared up as completely unexceptionable. The connection between it, my draft of a law, and my resignation is based on a freely invented malicious construction which lacks all foundation. In spite of my advanced age my defence was easy for me. All I had to do was to tell the Tribunal the truth. I have done so in the firm conviction that truth will be victorious and with the undaunted pride of a clear conscience.


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