Wednesday, May 13, 2009


From the New York Times:

Henry T. King Jr., Prosecutor at Nuremberg, Dies at 89


[Henry T.] King was one of the last Nuremberg war crimes prosecutors and an influential voice since World War II in international efforts to bring war criminals to justice.

Mr. King was “one of a handful of uniquely credible veterans in his field, one of the last voices of Nuremberg,” John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University and an expert on the trials, said Monday. “He influenced students and lecture audiences, international diplomats and even heads of state.”

“Nuremberg left a lifelong imprint on Henry King,” Professor Barrett continued, “and through the next 60 years of his life, he spoke and wrote constantly about the value that came out of Nuremberg.”

Assigned in 1946 and 1947 to the second phase of the trials, Mr. King investigated medical experiments performed on concentration camp inmates and gathered evidence against Walther von Brauchitsch, the commander of German armed forces. But his primary work was as assistant trial counsel in the case against Erhard Milch, a high-ranking German officer who was convicted in connection with the abuse and executions of slave laborers. His life sentence was later commuted to 15 years.

To gather evidence for the Milch case, Mr. King interviewed some of those already convicted, including [Albert] Speer. It was the start of a long relationship, one in which Mr. King could never quite comprehend the contradictions in the seemingly contrite Speer. For more than 30 years, Mr. King corresponded with Speer and visited him. He kept a photograph of Speer by his bedside. Still, he said, he was not taken in by the war criminal.

"Speer closed his eyes to the world of humanity, and thus, a concern for human ethics never intruded on his relentless drive as armaments minister,” Mr. King wrote in a 1997 memoir, “The Two Worlds of Albert Speer.” “In a technological world, the magic concoction for evil consists of blind technocrats such as Speer led by an evil and aggressive leader such as Hitler.”

In that first picture above, King is the second from the right at the prosecution table. This was taken at the Milch trial as the verdict was announced.

Seeing this obituary, my first instinct was maybe to feature the main Nazi on trial at Nuremberg, as seen in the 2000 TV movie "Nuremberg": Hermann Goering (played by Brian Cox).

However, the obituary for Mr. King revealed that he was born in my Connecticut hometown, and pride in the "Silver Capital of the world" prompted me to try to honor Mr. King instead.

It wasn't easy. "Nuremberg" focused mostly on Robert Jackson, as did some foreign TV productions about the Trials. A few others prosecutors, like fellow Connecticut lawyer (and future governor) Thomas Dodd, were depicted. But none of their cast lists specifically identify any of the prosecutors as Henry T. King. Any one of those lawyers seen seated behind Alec Baldwin (as Jackson) in this picture could have been King. I'd go with the guy two back from Jackson's right (seen to our left). The fellow seated on the left in this picture could also be considered to be Henry T. King.

There was a German TV mini-series called 'Speer un er', which chronicled the life of the Third Reich's armaments minister. For alls I know, this picture from the series could be showing Speer with King. (Although I don't know why Mr. King would be depicted as wearing sunglasses; they would have interfered with his need for his regular eyeglasses.) At any rate, Henry T. King serves as an example of those thousands - millions? - in History who have been relegated to the nameless crowds in Toobworld representation. This was my small attempt to rectify that for a fellow Meridenite..........


1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Thank you for doing this write-up about my father. My whole family was born in Meriden - both sides. My dad's ashes will be buried in Walnut Grove sometime this summer. His father, also Henry T. King, was mayor of Meriden for three terms and was instrumental in the establishment of Hubbard Park.