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Post Siegfried Ramler in Vienna and Nuremberg
Created by John Eipper on 12/11/10 5:19 AM

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Siegfried Ramler in Vienna and Nuremberg (Siegfried Ramler, USA, 12/11/10 5:19 am)

I just returned to Hawaii after an intensive tour of presentations in Austria and Germany, drawing on key themes in the German-language publication of my memoirs relating to the Nuremberg trials. Though the tour was very successful, after coping with snow and ice it is good to be back in warm Hawaii.

Let me share several highlights. In Austria my hosts were the education wing of the Social Democratic Party in cooperation with the University of Vienna, the site of my presentation, which was followed by a symposium with four historians and specialists on the National Socialist regime in Austria. A discussion in a Vienna museum was held one evening with a journalist of the weekly magazine Profil. I also gave a series of interviews covered by the Vienna press.

One unexpected honor in Vienna was the bestowal to me at the Rathaus (City Hall) by the Mayor of the "Goldener Rathausmann," a golden statuette depicting the figure at the top of the gothic-style Rathaus structure. Also receiving the honor at the same function was Maximilian Schell, the actor who had received an Oscar for his portrayal of a defense lawyer in the film "Judgment at Nürnberg." We were hosted to a lunch at the Rathauskeller, where I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Maximilian Schell, a colorful personality just about to celebrate his 80th birthday. Quite undeserved, among past recipients of this honor, I found myself in such company as Pele, Pierre Cardin and Gregory Peck!

In Germany, in my presentation I faced a capacity crowd at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice in the historic courtroom where the main international trial was held. The timing of the program, the 65th anniversary of the trials, also coincided with the opening of the "Nuremberg Memorium," a museum constructed above the courtroom which renders effectively the legacy and key events and principles of the trials.

As he wrote in a posting last week, our fellow WAISer Eugen Solf came to the Nuremberg event with a group of students, including his daughter, arriving an hour ahead of the program, so I could speak to the group and engage them in discussion. It was a great pleasure to be with him and his group!

As I reflect on my presence at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice in the year 2010, 65 years after the collapse of the Nazi regime and the opening of the trials, speaking in the courtroom where I spent four years, from 1945 to 1949, I feel that I am nearing the completion of a circle, where the path to and from Nuremberg has impacted my personal and professional life span.

I feel fortunate that I can count WAISers as companions on that path!

JE comments:  And we, dear Goldener Rathausmann Ramler, are fortunate to count you as our colleague.  Many thanks for your note.


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  • Siegfried Ramler in Vienna and Nuremberg (Robert Whealey, USA 12/13/10 4:30 AM)
    Thanks to Siegfried Ramler (11 December) for keeping the memory of the International Military Tribunal alive. I'm sad to report how far the legal standards of the US Constitution and International Law have been eroding in America today.

    Who would have believed that George W. Bush and Barack Obama hire lawyers to justify torture and "cruel and unusual punishment," arrest people at night and ship them off to Bargram Air Base, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo secret prisons?

    Who could believe that the CIA and the Homeland Security force spy on citizens almost unlimitedly, with little protest from US citizens who one time prized liberty?

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    • Civil Liberties in Peace and Wartime (Nigel Jones, UK 12/13/10 5:38 AM)

      They say that a Conservative is a Liberal who has been mugged by reality.

      Robert Whealey (13 December) clearly still awaits his encounter with the mugger.

      It may have escaped his notice that liberty is a luxury that is only enjoyed in peacetime. In World War II, to which Robert refers, the democratic powers of the US and the UK ceased to enjoy liberty and temporarily reverted to autocratic dictatorships to defeat the totalitarian systems. In the US, for instance, most Japanese-Americans were rounded up and interned. In the UK, the same applied to Germans and Italians; while those with fascist opinions were imprisoned without trial until the danger of invasion passed.

      We are at war again today, as the weekend's events in peaceful Stockholm proved yet again. I don't think that many people in the US would agree with Robert that Guantanamo Bay should be closed down and its inmates released to carry on with their peace-loving activities.

      The blindness of western "liberals" really is a sight to behold.

      JE comments:  Few who seek the closure of Guantánamo support the release of its inmates without trial.

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