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IHS Press

Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg

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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. 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.

Paperback. 124 pages. 2010, Indiana Historical Society Press.  By Suzanne S. Bellamy.