Nazism on Trial: Sources (HIH3283)

StaffDr Nicholas Terry - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at level 1 and/or level 2
Co-requisitesHIH3284 (Context)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module explores the investigation and prosecution of the crimes of the Nazi regime, using trials as a prism through which to view the history of Nazi atrocities, in particular the genocide of European Jews, as well as examining the trials as legal events that helped shape the collective memory of Nazism in post-war Europe. Utilising trial transcripts, pre-trial interrogations and contemporary documents drawn from a wide variety of court cases, the module will assess how these sources can be used both as historical evidence concerning the events themselves as well as to illuminate the political, legal and cultural contexts in which the trials took place.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A detailed knowledge of the different sources brought together in war crimes trials and investigations, in particular of their dual value as historical and legal-historical evidence
  • 2. A very close specialist knowledge of those sources on which the student focuses in their seminar presentation and written work.
  • 3. Ability to analyze the complex diversity of the sources studied.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Ability to analyse closely complex original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence
  • 5. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex texts and other types of evidence.
  • 6. Ability to follow and evaluate critically the often complex reasoning of contemporary discourses.
  • 7. Ability to understand and deploy historical terminology correctly.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 9. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 10. Ability to present complex arguments orally.

Syllabus plan

The module focuses on primary sources relating to the following subjects 1. Pretrial Investigations: Wartime Knowledge of Nazi Atrocities, Post-Liberation Investigations, Interrogations and Witness Testimonies 2. The Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1949 and the Eichmann Trial of 1961 3. Prosecuting Perpetrator Institutions: Wehrmacht, Einsatzgruppen, Concentration Camps, Auschwitz 4. Trials, Collective Memory and Anti-Memory: the legacies of the trials for history, memory and the law, and court cases involving Holocaust deniers

The introductory sessions for this module will provide an overview of the subject and also expose students to the sources themselves. The seminars will focus on sources drawn from the trials as well as from other provenances, allowing students to develop their knowledge of the subject in conjunction with the close analysis provided in the co-requisite module, and to develop their skills in source analysis and acquisition. Some of the sources will be presented by individual students, others will be presented by students working in groups; and on other occasions there will be open discussion; students may also be expected to present and discuss specific sources they have found themselves from the module resources. Students will be expected to prepare for seminars by reading and evaluating the relevant sources in advance, and will discuss the issues raised by them in the seminars.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities44Seminars (22x2hr)
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of four pieces of work802000 word essays and 1000 word commentaries1-10mark and written comments
Individual presentation2020-30 minutes1-9mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PortfolioPortfolio1-10Referral/deferral period
Individual presentationWritten transcript of 20 minute presentation.1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

- Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg ('Blue Series', Nuremberg, 1947-49)
- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression ('Red Series', Washington, 1946)
- Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10 ('Green Series', Washington, 1949-1953)
- Raymond Philips (ed), Trial of Josef Kramer and 44 Others (London, 1949, online)
- Earl W. Kinter (ed), The Hadamar Trial (London, 1949)
- Malmedy Massacre Investigation Report (Washington, 1949, online)
- Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz (London, 1958, online)
- Richard Overy, Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands (London, 2000)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

- Complete set of Blue, Red and Green Series Nuremberg trials volumes and the Malmedy Investigation:
- The Trial of Adolf Eichmann:
- Irving vs Lipstadt (2000):
- Interrogations of Rudolf Höss, April 1946:
- Testimonies of Hungarian Jewish survivors of Nazi camps, in translation:

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

- Transcript of Regina vs Zundel (1985)
- Transcript of US vs Fedorenko (1978)
- Dachau Tribunal Review Board Judgements
- Unpublished interrogations and testimonies in English from British and US war crimes investigations

Available as distance learning?


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