Judgment at Nuremberg

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Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 fictionalized film account of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials. It was written by Abby Mann, directed by Stanley Kramer, and starred Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Werner Klemperer, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, William Shatner and Montgomery Clift. An earlier adaptation had been broadcast as a television movie.[1] It was among the first films to be made about the Holocaust.

The film depicts the trial of certain judges who served during the Nazi regime in Germany. The film was inspired by the Judges' Trial before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1947, where four of the defendants were sentenced to life in prison. A key thread in the film's plot involves a "race defilement" trial known as the "Feldenstein case". In this fictionalized case, based on the real life Katzenberger Trial, an elderly Jewish man was tried for an improper relationship with an "Aryan" woman, and put to death in 1942.

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Synopsis

Judgment at Nuremberg centers around a military tribunal in which four judges are accused of crimes against humanity for their actions during the Nazi regime. Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy), the chief justice in the case, attempts to understand how defendant Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) could have passed sentences resulting in genocide, and by extension how the German people could have turned blind eyes and equally deaf ears to the Holocaust. Doing so, he befriends the widow (Marlene Dietrich) of a German General and talks with a number of Germans with different perspectives on the war. Other characters the Judge meets are U.S. Army Captain Byers (William Shatner), who is assigned to the American party hearing the cases, and Irene Wallner (Judy Garland), who is afraid to bring testimony that may turn the case against the judges in favor of the prosecution.

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