Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Women at Nuremberg: Prosecutors

As promised, the 1st in a series about women at the Nuremberg trials:
Readers may recall that for months we at IntLawGrrls have stayed on the trail of women who served on the team that prosecuted defendants before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The quest was launched by Diane Orentlicher, who's assumed the IntLawGrrl nom de plume of "Beatrice" in recognition of a conversation that our colleague Patricia Viseur-Sellers had with IMT prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz; he said

that, along with another woman whose name he could not recall, 'Beatrice' was part of the Nuremberg Prosecution team.

Later, another source relayed a story that 1 of the women at Nuremberg was married to a male prosecutor, a fact the couple tried to keep quiet.
Sleuthing's led us to believe that Ferencz might've had in mind Cecelia H. Goetz, a New Yorker who appeared before the bench during the "industrialists" trial of Alfred Krupp. Other names of women prosecutors at Nuremberg also have surfaced: Phillis Heller Rosenthal, Belle Mayer Zeck, and Mary Kaufman.
Questions remain:
Were those 4 all the women who prosecuted at Nuremberg? These are Americans -- did women work with the Russian, English, or French teams? And what of "Beatrice"?
According to a slim but excellent volume I picked up this summer at Nuremberg, the answer to the 1st question quite clearly is "no."
In his German-English book Nürnberger Prozesse - Nuremberg Trials (2001), Peter Heigl writes:


[I]t is interesting to point out that staffs were comprised about equally of both genders, with the exception of the all-male judges and the prosecutors and defense lawyers; at the follow-up trials there were three female prosecutors and a few female defendants. (pp. 52-53)

The only 1 of those "3" prosecutors whom Heigl gives a name is altogether new: Dorothea G. Minskoff, pictured above next to a defense attorney at a Ministries case hearing. No other names're mentioned, nor any more information given.
A 1948 directory of IMT personnel, however, provides additional clues. Goetz is listed, as is to be expected, and Mary Kaufman, too. But the only Mayer was named Hilde, and neither Heller nor Rosenthal is there. An interesting find: the listing for Dorothea G. Minskoff reveals her at the same address as Emanuel Minskoff, a prosecutor in the I.G. Farben case. Is this the couple mentioned in the story above?
Even more intriguing, 2 women named Beatrice served at IMT in 1948, Beatrice E. Benford and Beatrice O. Bushnell. Might 1 be our "Beatrice"?

Still to come in this Women at Nuremberg series: Staffers, Press, Witnesses, and, alas, those Defendants.

1 comment:

Gary Weiss said...

Yes, Dorothea and Emanuel Minskoff were married.