stuartwl at walrus.com
Mon Mar 17 13:55:02 MST 2003
Julius Streicher made his melodramatic appearance at 2.12 a.m.
While his manacles were being removed and his bare hands bound,
this ugly, dwarfish little man, wearing a threadbare suit and a
well-worn bluish shirt buttoned to the neck but without a tie (he was
notorious during his days of power for his flashy dress), glanced at the
three wooden scaffolds rising menacingly in front of him. Then he
glanced around the room, his eyes resting momentarily upon the small
group of witnesses. By this time, his hands were tied securely behind
his back. Two guards, one on each arm, directed him to Number One
gallows on the left of the entrance. He walked steadily the six feet to
the first wooden step but his face was twitching.
As the guards stopped him at the bottom of the steps for
identification formality he uttered his piercing scream: 'Heil Hitler!'
The shriek sent a shiver down my back.
As its echo died away an American colonel standing by the steps
said sharply, 'Ask the man his name.' In response to the interpreter's
query Streicher shouted, 'You know my name well.'
The interpreter repeated his request and the condemned man yelled,
As he reached the platform, Streicher cried out, 'Now it goes to
God.' He was pushed the last two steps to the mortal spot beneath the
hangman's rope. The rope was being held back against a wooden rail by
Streicher was swung suddenly to face the witnesses and glared at
them. Suddenly he screamed, 'Purim Fest 1946.' [Purim is a Jewish
holiday celebrated in the spring, commemorating the execution of Haman,
ancient persecutor of the Jews described in the Old Testament.]
The American officer standing at the scaffold said, 'Ask the man
if he has any last words.'
When the interpreter had translated, Streicher shouted, 'The
Bolsheviks will hang you one day.'
When the black hood was raised over his head, Streicher's muffled
voice could be heard to say, 'Adele, my dear wife.'
At that instant the trap opened with a loud bang. He went down
kicking. When the rope snapped taut with the body swinging wildly,
groans could be heard from within the concealed interior of the
scaffold. Finally, the hangman, who had descended from the gallows
platform, lifted the black canvas curtain and went inside. Something
happened that put a stop to the groans and brought the rope to a
standstill. After it was over I was not in the mood to ask what he did,
but I assume that he grabbed the swinging body of and pulled down on it.
We were all of the opinion that Streicher had strangled.
"The Execution of Nazi War Criminals"
by Kingsbury Smith
Nuremberg Gaol, Germany
16 October 1946
"We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants
today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass
these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as
Justice Robert H. Jackson, chief U.S. counsel, International Military
Nuremberg, November 21, 1945
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