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March 12 , 2004

Holyoke Photographer Documents History at Nuremberg Trials

Raymond D’Addario (American, b. 1920), The Defendants, gelatin silver print, 1945. Courtesy of the artist

On the first day of the Nuremberg Trials in November 1945, 21 major Nazi officials took their seats in the rear of the draped and dark-paneled room of the Palace of Justice to face their indictments. The moment marked the first time that an International Military Tribunal (IMT) would call for an individual accounting of and punishment for conspiratorial and criminal actions committed against the Jews and others before and during a war. There to record the scene—and so many others during the subsequent months—was 26-year-old Army photographer Raymond D’Addario of Holyoke, Massachusetts. D’Addario’s images can be seen at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum until March 28 in Witnessing the Nuremberg Trials: Photographs by Raymond D’Addario.

It was D’Addario’s job, as chief of a handful of Army photographers receiving the assignment to Nuremberg, to prepare news coverage for the war crimes trials. He observed on a daily basis—from November 1945 until October 1946—the two rows of defendants, including Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, making them forever part of the historic record. His stirring images, which have been distributed worldwide in magazines, books, and newspapers, also capture the judges and prosecutors from the four victorious nations, the defense, and a variety of witnesses as well as the almost total devastation of Nuremberg itself by the Allied Forces before the end of the war. Despite the IMT’s restrictions against the use of flashbulbs in the courtroom, D’Addario’s imagery, mostly in black and white, is outstanding.

 

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