The post-war history of Germany is strongly connected with the holding of the Nuremberg Trials, which took place in Room 600 in the Palace of Justice. Here you can visit an informative and well-developed exhibition, the Memorium Nuremberg Trials, on this subject.
The Palace of Justice of Nuremberg is located in the district Bärenschanze and is the largest judicial building in Bavaria. It was built between 1909 and 1916 and the construction costs of over 7 million Marks were already quite stately at that time.
The result is a three-part building complex in the neo-Renaissance style. The main building with its three atriums is connected to the west and east buildings via connecting bridges on the second floor. What is astonishing is the large usable area of about 65,000 m², which nevertheless had already reached its limit of use after only a few decades.
The building had quite modern equipment for that time. For example, there were passenger elevators and six special elevators intended for prisoner transport.
The building was only slightly destroyed during the Second World War, and so the US Army moved into the Palace of Justice as early as July 1945. All facilities still there had to vacate the building within a few days.
The first Nuremberg Trials were held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946 in Courtroom 600. This location was chosen because it was one of the largest locations not destroyed and offered the logistical possibilities needed for the trial. There were about 530 offices, 80 different hearing rooms, and in addition, the city and the nearby countryside offered sufficient accommodation for all participants.
The Palace of Justice is directly adjacent to the Nuremberg Prison. Here are the historic Nuremberg cellular prisons, where the defendants and numerous high-ranking witnesses were imprisoned during the trial. An underground connection between the cells and the courthouse and an above-ground connecting passage made of wood, which is no longer preserved today, allowed for good and safe transportation of the prisoners.
Then, on November 20, 1945, the trials began before the International Military Tribunal against the main war criminals of the Nazi terror regime. Accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity were 24 leaders and eight organizations. The judges and prosecutors were provided by the four Allied powers (USA, Great Britain, France, USSR).
In the course of the trials, the crimes of National Socialist Germany were secured and documented at an early stage, thus creating a research basis that is still used today.
The Nuremberg Trials took place in the largest courtroom in northern Bavaria. Until 1924, a jury court was still sitting there.
Before that, however, some reconstruction work had to be done. The back wall of the hall was removed and a grandstand was built in. Additional doors were installed and, in order to be able to make well-lit film recordings, neon lighting was installed in the hall.
Entering room 600 on the second floor of the building today, the first thing that catches the eye are the two beautiful marble judicial doors behind the large judicial table and the wooden ceiling. Above the doors are the scales and tablets of the law with the 10 commandments as symbols of justice and the hourglass with wings and star as a symbol of time.
The main portal is located on the windowless side of the room. I find this even more impressive, even though it can only be seen from the side and not in full size from the visitors’ room. Here you can see, for example, represented by the fall of Adam and Eve the first violation of the commandment of man.
After the trials, the hall was restored to its original condition by 1961. The tube lighting was removed and inconspicuous ceiling floodlights and crystal chandeliers were installed. The seating was also modernized.
Until 1969, the U.S. forces gradually cleared the building and it was repaired to bring it up to the standards of the time. This enabled the judiciary to move back in. In the meantime, some areas have been relocated and the building is used by the Higher Regional Court.
Room 600 continued to be used for court proceedings. Since 2017, the Palace of Justice has been supplemented by a modern judicial building. Room 600 is less and less needed for trial purposes and can be visited regularly.
Nuremberg Trials Memorium
The Nuremberg Trials Memorial is located on the 3rd floor of the building and aims to provide information on the subject of the Nuremberg Trials at this historic site. For this purpose, a comprehensive exhibition has been opened, which deals with the prehistory, the course and the consequences of the trials. In addition, one can also visit room 600.
You should take your time to visit the permanent exhibition. Those who like to travel with an audio guide will hear a lot of interesting information there, such as historical sound recordings, about the trial. But even without an audio guide, the exhibition is full of variety. In addition to large display panels with well-edited information, you can also see film documentaries that offer a good impression of the course of the trial.
The exhibition is divided into three sections:
- history, participants and course
- legal prosecution including follow-up processes
- “Legacy” of the criminal court with the emergence of the International Criminal Court in the Hague
Anyone looking for objects from the trial in the exhibition will hardly find them. One has deliberately refrained from it and would like to work up the history as factually as possible. The “object” for viewing is room 600. In the exhibition, for example, there is “only” a piece of the dock and a box in which documents were transported.
I found the list of sentences for the defendants very interesting. Then I remembered that the convicted war criminal Hess was imprisoned until his death in Berlin-Spandau, the only inmate in a prison guarded by the Allies, which I drove past every day for many years.
I found the exhibition and Hall 600 very interesting. A visit that was very worthwhile for me.
Fancy a virtualTour?
Memorium Nürnberger Prozesse
Until 31 October
Wednesday – Friday: 9-18 h
Saturday, Sunday: 10-18 h
Monday: 9-18 h
November 1 – March 31
Wednesday – Monday: 10-18 h
Special opening hours
There are additional special opening and closing hours, which can best be found on the website of the Nuremberg Trials Memorium.
Discounts are offered.
The visit to the Nuremberg Trials Memorial took place as part of a press trip with Frankentourismus .