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Volume 19, Fall 2006           
Nuremberg Trials 60th Anniversary
The Three Industrial Cases in the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials

Section 1
Background and Preparation for the Nuremberg Trials
Section 2
Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal
Section 3
Twelve Subsequent Trials
Medical Trial
Medical Experiments
Medical Trial Judgment
Justice Case
Industrial Cases
Krupp Trial
Taylor's statement
Pre-reading Exercise:
  • Before reading about the three industrial cases at Nuremberg, think about the following:

  • Should industrialists and financiers be held accountable for how their acts that can possibly assist in promoting aggressive war?

  • Should industrialists and financiers have a set of standards that guides the types of enterprises they engage in? How would such guidelines affect a capitalist economy?

  • Think of contemporary cases of companies in the United States in which leadership has been held accountable for questionable accounting and reporting practices that affected thousands of workers as well as the overall health of the American economy. How do you think courts should deal with these leaders?
The Three Industrial Cases Three of the Subsequent Trials centered on cases dealing with industrialists and financiers involved with the Third Reich—The Flick Trial (United States v Friedrich Flick), The I.G. Farben Trial (United States v Carl Krauch et al), and The Krupp Trial (United States v Alfried Krupp et al). Each of these cases examined the roles of the leaders of the companies in question and investigated to what extent the companies and their management were aware of the policies of the Third Reich.

Friedrich Flick was accused of employing forced labor and of usurpation of factories in the German-occupied territories. He was sentenced to 7 years of prison.

The Flick Case began on April 19, 1947 and ended on December 22, 1947. The six defendants were leading officials of the Flick conglomerate, which dealt with coal and iron mines and the fabrication of steel and its subsidiaries.


The defendants were the following:
  • Freidrich Flick

  • Otto Steinbrinck

  • Odilo Burkart

  • Konrad Kaletsch

  • Bernard Weiss

  • Hermann Terberger

The indictment charged the defendants with the use of slave labor, the use of prisoners of war for war industries, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Otto Steinbrinck was also charged with being a member of the criminal organization of the SS.

Three of the defendants—Burkart, Kaletsch and Terberger—were acquitted. The other three were found guilty on certain counts and sentenced to seven years, five years and two years.

The I.G. Farben Trial between August 1947 and the following July tried twenty four defendants, all of whom had been involved with the operation of the company.

  • Five counts were listed in their indictment:

  • Planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression and invasions of other countries

  • War crimes and crimes against humanity through the plundering and spoliation of occupied territories and the seizure of plants both in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, France and Russia.

  • War crimes and crimes against humanity through participation in the enslavement and deportation of slave labor on a gigantic scale of concentration camp inmates and civilians in occupied countries, and or prisoners of war, and the mistreatment, terrorization, torture, and murder of enslaved persons.

  • Membership in a criminal organization, the SS.

  • Acting as leaders in a conspiracy to commit the crimes mentioned under counts 1, 2, and 3.
All the defendants were charged with counts 1, 2, 3, and 5; only three of the defendants were charged with 4 or belonging to the SS.

Involvement in Auschwitz

The tribunal did not hold the defendants accountable for preparing aggressive war or conspiracy and argued that the use of slave labor had been out of necessity. The only charge that the tribunal did hold the defendants accountable for pertained to the company involvement with Auschwitz where I.G. Farben clearly planned to use slave labor. The only judge to dissent was Judge Hebert who argued that the defense of necessity was inapplicable and that the defendants were quite willing to abuse the human rights of the workers. “Willing cooperation with the slave labor utilization of the Third Reich was a matter of corporate policy that permeated the whole Farben organization. . . . . For this reason, criminal responsibility goes beyond the actual immediate participants at Auschwitz. It includes other Farben Vorstand plant-managers and embraces all who knowingly participated in the shaping of the corporate policy.”

IG Farben defendants

The final sentences, as revealed in the chart below of Farben defendants, demonstrate that Hebert’s arguments failed to gain support:

Farben Defendants

Defendant Function Count Sentence
    1 2 3 4 5  
Carl Krauch Chairman of the Supervisory Bd I I G   I 6 yrs. **
Hermann Schmitz CEO, Member of Reichstag I G I   I 4 yrs. **
Georg von Schnitzle Military Economy Leader I G I   I 2 1/2 yrs **
Fritz Grajewski Director of AGFA I I I     acquitted
Heinrich Horlein Head of Chemical Research I I I   I acquitted
August von Knierim Chief Counsel I I I   I acquitted
Fritzter Meer Head Chemical Plant at Auschwitz I G G   I 7 yrs. **
Christian Schneider Head of Gasoline/Nitrogen Prod. I I I I I acquitted
Otto Ambros Production Chief at Buna I I G   I 8 yrs **
Max Bruggermann Plant leader I I I I I ****
Ernst Burgin Plant Leader I G I     2 yrs **
Heinrich Butefisch Prod. Chief at Auschwitz I I G I I 6 yrs **
Paul Hafliger Head of Metals Department I G I     4 yrs **
Max Ilgner Head of Intelligence/Propaganda I G I   I 3 yrs **
Friedrich Jahne Chief Engineer I G I   I 1 1/2 yrs **
Hans Kuhne Plant Leader I I I   I acquitted
Carl Lautenschlager Plant leader I I I   I acquitted
Wilhelm Mann Pharmaceuticals; SA member I I I   I acquitted
Heinrich Oster Manager of Nitrogen Syndicate I G I   I 2 yrs **
Karl Wurster Plant leader I I I   I acquitted
Walter Durrfeld Head of Auschwitz Construction I I G   I 8 yrs **
Heinrich Gattineau Intelligence and Plant Police I I I   I acquitted
Erich von der Heyde Deputy of intelligence; SS/ PLE I I I I I acquitted
Hans Kugler Head of Sales Southeastern Europe I G I   I 1 1/2 yr **
** minus years served **** too ill to be tried

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