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Nuremberg

by Airey Neave

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762347,149 (3.43)1
On 18 October 1945, a day that would haunt him for ever, Airey Neave personally served the official indictments on the twenty-one top Nazis awaiting trial in Nuremberg - including Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. With his visit to their gloomy prison cells, the tragedy of an entire generation reached its final act. The 29-year-old Neave, a wartime organiser of MI9 and the first Englishman to escape from Colditz Castle, had watched and listened over the months as the trials unfolded. Here, he describes the cowardice, calumny and in some cases bravado of the defendants - men he came to know and who in turn would become known as some of the most evil men in history. A milestone in international law, the Nuremberg trials prompted uncomfortable but vital questions about how we prosecute the worst crimes ever committed - and who is entitled to deliver justice. Challenging, poignant and incisive, this definitive eyewitness account remains indispensable reading today.… (more)
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As a historical document, this is the least satisfying of the many books about Nuremberg I have read. Neave makes no excuses for his feelings toward the accused: "...I was contemptuous of men like Keitel and Funk. I was cold toward those Nazis whom I personally disliked, especially Albert Speer.... Only towards those vile men, Hans Frank and Julius Streicher, was I openly hostile."

And why not? "For me [the trial] had brought a strange reversal of fortune by which the escaped prisoner of war was set in authority over Goering and the other men in the dock."

While his is a unique viewpoint, the reader must recognize that his war experiences (he was the first British officer to successfully escape Colditz prison, among other adventures) inevitably color his view of the proceedings in a way unlike those writers whose wars were perhaps a little less personal. With that caveat, the book is certainly worth reading.

Neave was assassinated shortly after the book's publication in 1979 in a car-bomb attack at the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) claimed responsibility.
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  seth_g | Oct 31, 2014 |
At the age of 29, the author served the Allied indictments on the 21 leading Germans awaiting trial at Nuremberg. In this book he wrote his personal record of the 1945-6 trials. As well as giving the highlights of the trials themselves, he provides short biographies of each of the accused.

A fascinating book! Neave obviously has his own prejudices that seem to be connected with his public school upbringing: the security and manliness of the stiff upper lip and fear of weakness. But, his counter-transference to the accused Nazis is fascinating. He accurately describes their psychic defences and attempts to deal with both defeat and the destruction of their ideal: Hitler and a strong and superior Germany.
  antimuzak | Dec 9, 2005 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Airey Neaveprimary authorall editionscalculated
West, RebeccaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On 18 October 1945, a day that would haunt him for ever, Airey Neave personally served the official indictments on the twenty-one top Nazis awaiting trial in Nuremberg - including Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. With his visit to their gloomy prison cells, the tragedy of an entire generation reached its final act. The 29-year-old Neave, a wartime organiser of MI9 and the first Englishman to escape from Colditz Castle, had watched and listened over the months as the trials unfolded. Here, he describes the cowardice, calumny and in some cases bravado of the defendants - men he came to know and who in turn would become known as some of the most evil men in history. A milestone in international law, the Nuremberg trials prompted uncomfortable but vital questions about how we prosecute the worst crimes ever committed - and who is entitled to deliver justice. Challenging, poignant and incisive, this definitive eyewitness account remains indispensable reading today.

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