Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"Beatrice" = "Ceil Goetz"?

In an exchange prompted by the New York Times’ reference to Nuremberg lawyer Phillis Heller (see my most recent post), Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz provided a crucial lead concerning my identity. Recalling his conversation with the person who helped (re)discover me, Mr. Ferencz says: “My guess is that we talked about Cecilia Goetz, who was one of the attorneys assigned to work on the case against Alfried Krupp.” (She is pictured at left addressing the tribunal during Krupp, 1 of the "industrialists" cases tried at Nuremberg.)
“During the trial by the International Military Tribunal conducted by the US, UK, USSR and France,” he continued, “I do not recall having seen a female in the courtroom as either prosecutor, defense counsel or judge. In the 12 ‘Subsequent Proceedings’ run by the US at Nuremberg, there was no female on the bench nor as defense counsel selected by the accused.” But, Mr. Ferencz added, he recalled 3 women who served on the prosecution team in the “Subsequent Proceedings” at Nuremberg—Mary Kaufman, Belle Mayer Zeck, and Ms. Goetz, known as “Ceil.”
A profile of in the alumni magazine of New York University Law School, where Cecelia Goetz was editor-in-chief of the law review, describes her journey from the Solicitor’s Office of the Department of Justice to Nuremberg:
At the Department of Justice, Goetz became the first woman ever to be offered a supervisory role. She declined this in favor of joining the prosecution team at the Nuremberg Trials. She had been following the reports of human rights abuses during World War II and very much wanted the opportunity to take part in bringing the perpetrators of the abuses to justice. To achieve this took persistence on her part. The War Department did not want women appointed to senior level positions. It was Brigadier General Telford Taylor who recognized her credentials and pushed for her appointment. Goetz spent two years in Nuremberg with the Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, as an associate counsel in the prosecution of the Flick and Krupp cases. Decades later upon reflecting on all of her achievements she still considered the time spent there as the most important work in which she had ever been involved. In retrospect, it was quite an impressive accomplishment considering the barriers that existed. At that time many law schools did not even admit women.
I believe Mr. Ferencz has identified my real name. But I will continue to post under the name Beatrice, now used as a short-hand for of all of the path-breaking women lawyers at Nuremberg—whose real names and contributions deserve to be known, remembered, and honored.


Patricia said...

Diane/Beatrice, I believe that you are right - Ben said one thing and I heard and transformed it into another. Still, Beatrice is a good symbolic aka for all of those unknown women.

After reading about them via the website connections, it is certain that the lives of Cecelia and Mary Kaufman were extraodinary. What pioneers.

They along with Belle were still alive when the ad hocs were set up. It is truely a shame that they were not sought out and asked for a "laying on of hands blessing" by the senior staff similar to their other wonderful male colleagues. Minna Schrag and Goldstone would have been ecstatic. The female STAs at the ad hocs didn't invent anything, but they continued to widen a path.

Truth is fascinating.


peter dodge said...

In the period between 1943 and 1955 a person named Cecilia Goetz visited exiled Hitler enemy, Otto Strasser, in Paradise, Nova Scotia. She was often described by surviving paradise residents as a beautiful long haired girl who walked in the village with Otto wearing a dress and carrying her shoes. Is Judge Cecelia Goetz alive? Where? Are her papers archived? Did you know her? Could this Cecelia be that girl in Paradise? Can anyone help me with this?
Peter Dodge,
1823 Riverside Ave,
Minneapolis, mn., 55454-1034, USA

Unknown said...

Belle Mayer Zeck's life was quite extraordinary, in many ways. There is a terrifc You Tube of her speaking at a reunion/ conference of Nuremberg Attorneys, that occured sometime in the late nineties in Washington, DC.