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Creating the WitnessDocumenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet$
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Leshu Torchin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676224

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676224.001.0001

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Witness for the Prosecution

Witness for the Prosecution

Films at Nuremberg

(p.61) 2 Witness for the Prosecution
Creating the Witness

Leshu Torchin

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the role of cinematic technologies in the performance of international justice, with particular emphasis on three films in the first set of International Military Tribunals (IMTs) in Europe, also known as the Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Trials were a set of military tribunals that took place after World War II from 1945 to 1949 to prosecute a number of Nazi officials held accountable for their actions under the Third Reich. The chapter analyzes three films—Nazi Concentration Camps (screened November 29, 1945), The Nazi Plan (screened December 11, 1945), and Original Eight Millimeter Film of Atrocities against Jews (screened December 13, 1945)—and looks at how they contributed to the creation of a visual understanding of “crimes against humanity.” In particular, it considers the role of film not in producing witnesses, but as witness. It also explores how the films naturalized the images and the act of witnessing and legitimated the processes of the IMT and rule of law whose authority was not yet established.

Keywords:   cinema, international justice, films, International Military Tribunals, Nuremberg Trials, Nazi Concentration Camps, The Nazi Plan, Jews, crimes against humanity, witnessing

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