Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Nuremberg Trials: On Display

[Guest blogger Marguerite Most, Reference Librarian and Senior Lecturing Fellow, highlights some of the items which can be found in the library’s most recent display of special collections.]

On November 20th, 1945, the Nuremberg Trials opened in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. The trials were restricted to the "punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries." In June, prior to the opening of the Trials, delegates of the major wartime powers met in London to discuss what to do with Nazi leaders. The American delegate and chief United States prosecutor at the trials, Associate Justice Robert Jackson, told negotiators from the other nations, "What we propose is to punish acts which have been regarded as criminal since the time of Cain and have been so written in every civilized code."

The Goodson Law Library's J. Marshall Doswell, Jr. Nuremberg Trials Collection is a collection of books and memorabilia relating to the Trial and its legacy. Currently on display in the Riddick Rare Book and Special Collections Room are recent additions to the collection. Most books on display have a legal theme and many were written by attorneys involved in the trials; several focus on the psychological aspects of defendants' lives and the nature and causes of evil. Still others examine the legacy of the Trial and how it led to a heightening of social consciousness and increased moral and political recognition of the idea that a court of law is capable of sanctioning the commission of international crimes.

The two most contentious aspects of the Nuremberg Trials – the provision of a crime of aggressive war or crime against peace; and the recognition of crimes against humanity as a category of international law – are addressed in Perspectives on the Nuremberg Trials, published in 2008. The essays in this book, edited by Guénaël Mettraux, discuss the legal, political and philosophical questions raised at the time and today.

What was shocking to many observers about Nuremberg was the ordinariness of the defendants. Men who were seen as good fathers, kind to animals, even unassuming, committed unspeakable crimes. Among the books in the display is Less than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others, by David Livingstone Smith. Smith examines events such as the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and the slave trade, and asks why xenophobia, homophobia, military propaganda, racism still exist in the world – what makes these atrocities possible. The essays in Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust, examine Christian responses in the Nazi era. What religious convictions sparked resistance in some and compliance in others, and why did so many people fail to act?

Perhaps the most moving of the books displayed are those which present the Nazi regime through the eyes of victims. Seeing Through "Paradise": Artists and the Terezin Concentration Camp is the catalog of a 1991 exhibit at the Massachusetts College of Art. Images in the exhibit were drawn by witnesses in the camp in Terezin, in what is today the Czech Republic. I Never Saw Another Butterfly – Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944 reproduces art by children who lived at the camp.

The display also includes disturbing examples of propaganda published in Nazi Germany. The Jewish Question in the Classroom, by a municipal school inspector in the Third Reich, instructed teachers on how to explain the "Jewish question" to students. Three anti-Semitic picture books intended for young children compare Jews to poisonous snakes, locusts and other unpleasant animal life.

Memorabilia in the collection include photographs, commemorative medals, letterhead stationery, envelopes and postage stamps, and original news articles. The most unusual item on display is a cigar wrapper from a commemorative cigar distributed by allied forces. On the wrapper is an artist’s depiction of U. S. military soldiers escorting a Nazi prisoner.

Today, many online sources are available for researching the primary documents of the Nuremberg Trials, secondary sources about the Trials, and more general materials about international criminal law. Yale Law School's Avalon Project provides access to documents relating to the trials and to documents cited in the official records of the Tribunal, as well as to documents relating to the proceedings and the post-war military government. The Library of Congress has digitized "The Blue Series", the 42-volume official record of the trials, in its web portal of Nuremberg materials. The Harvard Law School Nuremberg Trials collection includes trial transcripts, briefs, evidence files and other papers relating to the trials in the International Military Tribunal and the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals. More general materials about international criminal law can be found in the Goodson Law Library's own research guide.

Stop by the Riddick Room on level 3 of the library to see some of the most recent additions to the Library’s J. Marshall Doswell, Jr. Nuremberg Trials Collection.

--Marguerite Most, Reference Librarian and Senior Lecturing Fellow

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas for Lawyers and Law Students

On Friday, law blogger Reid Trautz unveiled his ninth annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers. Trautz does not limit his gift ideas to a strict legal theme, but casts a wide net for goodies that the lawyers in your life might enjoy, such as artisan gin, high-end headphones, and flash drive cufflinks. The Goodson Blogson, too, is no stranger to holiday gift recommendations, having published gift guides of our own in 2009, 2010, and 2011. We're not sure how we could have forgotten to compile a roundup in 2012 (perhaps an excess of eggnog?), but we'll make up for it with a 2013 list worthy of sending straight to Santa.

The Supreme Court Historical Society Gift Shop continues to be the top source of law-themed gifts for all ages and interests. Cookbook Chef Supreme was compiled by the spouses of the Supreme Court justices in memory of Martin Ginsburg, the late husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In addition to being a noted tax attorney and professor, "Marty" (as he was known to his friends) was an avid chef, and the cookbook contains his personal recipes as well as loving tributes from family and friends. The Supreme Court gift shop also offers the logo of our highest court affixed to a wide variety of household items: pens and pencils, drinkware, blankets, and bowls.

Both Trautz's blog and the Supreme Court gift shop also feature Lawsuit!, a law-themed board game which has appeared in previous Goodson Blogson holiday gift guides. Not sure what a lawsuit board game might look like? The game website posts a copy of the instructions, along with a legal dictionary of terms used in the game and other educational resources.

ThinkGeek doesn't contain a lot of specifically law-related content (unless you count the t-shirt with a police officer exhorting you to "Obey gravity. It's the law!"), but there seems to be enough intersection between lawyers and geeks to make the site worth a browse. Certainly, many lawyers might be interested in the various iPhone and iPad accessories. But if the lawyer or law student in your life also happens to be a fan of geeky favorites like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, this site may contain the perfect present.

For holiday shoppers who want to keep it local, non-profit business alliance Sustain-a-Bull promotes independent businesses in Durham, North Carolina. November 30 through December 8 will be the group's annual Shop Independent Durham Week. The Brightleaf Square area, close to Duke’s campus, features several locally owned and operated stores. Morgan Imports offers a dizzying array of toys, home goods, and furniture; just up the street is Rose's Meat Market and Sweet Shop, which features gourmet stocking-stuffers alongside its delicious prepared foods and butcher cuts. A Southern Season in Chapel Hill is another great source for gourmet gifts, both local and international, with free shipping available for many of their signature gift baskets.

Speaking of free shipping, online shoppers should be aware that Wednesday, December 18 has been designated Free Shipping Day at more than 400 retailers. Many free shipping deals can also be found on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving, when online holiday sales are said to reach their peak for the year), and at other times with coupon codes from sites like RetailMeNot.

Happy holidays to all of our Blogson readers!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Best & The Rest: Attorney Ratings and Recommendations

The legal education community seems downright obsessed with rankings at times. Even slight movements in the annual U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings can have large ripple effects at law schools. University of Chicago Law professor and prominent legal blogger Brian Leiter even has a dedicated "Law School Rankings" blog, measuring law school faculty scholarly impact and productivity, law student admissions by LSAT scores and GPA, and employment placement figures.

So it's no surprise that the rankings bug has infected the legal profession, as well as academia. Here at Goodson Blogson HQ, we surrender. Our recently-updated research guide to Directories of Lawyers now includes the inevitable: a section of attorney rating and recommendation sites, such as Avvo and Super Lawyers. The inclusion arrives just in time for a brand-new Super Lawyers edition dedicated to business lawyers, released earlier this week.

The Directories of Lawyers guide also includes print and online resources for locating attorneys in particular states, specialties, and foreign countries. One particularly useful resource for locating lawyers is the American Bar Association's portal, which provides links for each jurisdiction with information about referral services, free or low-cost legal aid, the court system, foreclosure information, and guidance for self-represented litigants.

For more resources to locate information about an attorney, check out the updated Directories of Lawyers guide or Ask a Librarian.