LOS ANGELES – April 26, 2017 – Scant attention has been paid to the key roles women played in the Nuremberg Trials that held Nazi perpetrators to account for their role in the Holocaust.
This is the main focus of a dissertation by Diane Amann, associate dean at the University of Georgia School of Law. She will expand on her work in January 2018 when she comes as a fellow to conduct research at USC Shoah Foundation’s Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California.
Amann has been chosen as the Center’s first-ever Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow. The fellowship enables one PhD candidate to spend up to one month in residence at the Center every year.
Before entering academia, Professor Amann practiced law in San Francisco before state and federal trial courts and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Amann is a PhD candidate in law at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
During her stay in Los Angeles, Amann will have full access to the Center’s primary-source materials, which include a nearly complete original transcript of the Nuremberg Trials. Only a dozen original copies exist worldwide, and USC holds one of them. She also will be able to view testimony of Nuremberg participants by accessing the Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation’s repository of 55,000 video interviews of genocide survivors and witnesses.
Among the testimonies are 62 accounts from war-crimes trial participants. They include Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter during World War II who became a professor at Georgetown University; and Edith Coliver, who, while working as an interpreter and research analyst at the Nuremberg Trials, translated for Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo.
The Visual History Archive also contains the testimonies of the two “main characters” of Amann’s research so far: Cecelia Goetz and Belle Mayer Zeck, two American women who were part of the prosecution team at Nuremberg.
Goetz was the only woman to give part of an opening statement as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
“She had been forgotten,” said Amann, who decided to focus on Goetz after coming across a photo of her delivering her statement. Goetz went on to become the first female federal bankruptcy judge in New York.
Zeck worked on the team that tried the German industrial company I.G. Farben for its use of concentration camp slave labor and other war crimes.
While many men who participated in the Nuremberg Trials went on to write memoirs about their experiences, hardly any women did the same, Amann said. She’s curious why women did not write, or whether perhaps they did but their manuscripts were rejected.
The January fellowship will aid Amann in her broader efforts to conduct research for her current project: unearthing the experiences of women who participated in the Nuremberg Trials and other major criminal trials in the aftermath of World War II. Female participants in the Nuremberg Trials included prosecuting and defense attorneys, journalists, translators and defendants.
Her research will be the first product of the endowment of the Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellowship, made possible by a generous donation from Gerald Breslauer, Mickey Rutman, Tammy Anderson and Sharon De Greiff.
The donation officially came from Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson LLC of Los Angeles, a business-management firm in the entertainment industry.
Breslauer and Rutman's involvement with USC Shoah Foundation dates all the way back to the Institute’s 1994 inception.
Both sat on the three-member founding board of what was then called Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, and both remain on the Institute’s governing Board of Councilors.
About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio- visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of 55,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes.
Visual History Archive® is a registered trademark of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education Reg. U.S. Pat & Tm. Off.
About Center for Advanced Genocide Research
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research is dedicated to advancing new areas of interdisciplinary research on the Holocaust and other genocides. One area of research addresses the fundamental question of what enables people to oppose or resist racist ideologies, state discrimination practices, or the active participation in mass atrocities. Other research interests include Research on Violence, Emotion and Behavioral Change and Digital Genocide Studies.