Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Examines Nuremberg Trials

In the years after World War II, as the world grappled with the enormity of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi regime, two Hoosiers had a significant role in the American response to unfolding events in Germany.

In the Indiana Historical Society Press book Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg, part of the Indiana Supreme Court Legal History Series, author Suzanne S. Bellamy examines how Frank Richman of Columbus, Indiana, and Curtis Shake of Vincennes, Indiana, both served with distinction as members of the Indiana Supreme Court. By early 1947 both justices had stepped down from the court to begin new phases in their profession. Shake resumed his law practice in Vincennes, and Richman planned to teach law. World events intervened when both men were called to serve as civilian judges in tribunals convened in Nuremberg to try secondary Nazi war criminals. Shake and Richman sat on the bench in the trials of leading German industrialists for crimes against humanity, applying international law according to American concepts of fairness.

Despite lingering doubts about the legitimacy of American judges having jurisdiction over German nationals, Richman and Shake responded with grace, competence, and high ethical standards, along with a little controversy. The book highlights the role two leading citizens of Indiana played in events that, more than sixty years later, still resonate across the world.

Bellamy is a graduate of the University of Rochester and the Boston University School of Law. She practiced law for twenty-five years as a corporate counsel in Indianapolis. As a freelance historical researcher and writer, she has worked on projects for the IHS, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the Indiana Supreme Court.

Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg costs $6.95 and is available from the IHS's History Market.

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