Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial, is a BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 series consisting of three one-hour films that re-enact the Nuremberg War Trials of Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 and Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

. They were broadcast on BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 in 2006 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the trials.


Written by screenwriter Laura Lamson
Laura Lamson
Laura Lamson was an American screenwriter and university lecturer who was based in England throughout her career. Her most successful work was her adaptation of The Men's Room for the BBC.-Biography:...

, the three films were produced and shown by the BBC to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg War Trials. Each film centred on a different one of the senior Nazis that were on trial and tells the story of their crime and punishment.

The films employ the dual docudrama format interweaving contemporary interviews and archive footage with dramatic re-enactments of the events. The cross-cutting between footage of the real trial and the meticulously researched reconstructions garnered critical acclaim and a BAFTA nomination for the editor, Ben Giles.

The series was filmed with the Panasonic SDX 900 DVCPRO 50 professional camcorder.


  • Ben Cross
    Ben Cross
    Ben Cross is a British actor of the stage and screen, best known for his portrayal of the British Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.-Early life:...

     as Rudolf Hess
    Rudolf Hess
    Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

  • Nathaniel Parker
    Nathaniel Parker
    Nathaniel Parker is an English actor best known for playing Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley in the BBC crime drama series The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.-Personal life:...

     as Albert Speer
    Albert Speer
    Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

  • Robert Pugh
    Robert Pugh
    Robert Pugh is a Welsh film and television actor.Pugh was born in Cilfynydd and graduated from Rose Bruford College in 1976. In 2007, he co-starred alongside Genevieve O'Reilly and Geraldine James in ITV1 drama The Time of Your Life, where he played a parent whose 36-year-old daughter was...

     as Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

  • Adam Godley
    Adam Godley
    Adam Godley is an English actor.-Biography:Adam Godley has appeared in numerous movies including Love Actually, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ....

     as Gustave Gilbert
    Gustave Gilbert
    Gustave Mark Gilbert was an American psychologist best known for his writings containing observations of high ranking Nazi leaders during the Nuremberg Trials. His Psychology of Dictatorship was an attempt to profile Adolf Hitler using as reference the testimonials of Hitler’s closest generals and...

  • Colin Stinton
    Colin Stinton
    Colin Stinton is a Canadian-born actor who immigrated to the United States in 1952, and now lives in London. He often portrays fictional American politicians, lawyers and government agents. He recently played Neal Daniels in The Bourne Ultimatum...

     as Justice Robert H. Jackson
    Robert H. Jackson
    Robert Houghwout Jackson was United States Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court . He was also the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials...

  • Anthony Valentine as Col. Burton C. Andrus
    Burton C. Andrus
    Colonel Burton C. Andrus was a career U.S. Army Officer who served from 1917 through 1952. He was an armor officer for most of his career and his most noted assignment was as the Commandant of the Nuremberg Prison which housed the accused during the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.- Biography...

  • Richard Durden as Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence
    Geoffrey Lawrence, 1st Baron Oaksey
    Geoffrey Lawrence, 3rd Baron Trevethin, 1st Baron Oaksey, DSO, TD, KC, PC was the main British Judge during the Nuremberg trials after World War II, and President of the Judicial group.-Early life:...

  • Tim Woodward
    Tim Woodward
    -Biography:Woodward was born in London, England, the son of actors Edward Woodward and Venetia Mary Barrett.He is probably best known for his roles in the 1970s BBC drama Wings, the 1990s ITV soap opera Families and the 2000s ITV police drama Murder City...

     as Col. John Amen
    John Amen
    Colonel John Harlan Amen is a US Army Intelligence officer who served as Nuremberg Prison Chief Interrogator during the Nuremberg War Trials.He was the second husband of Marion Cleveland Dell, the daughter of former President Grover Cleveland....

  • Julian Wadham
    Julian Wadham
    -Career:He has appeared on television as both Charles II and George V...

     as David Maxwell Fyfe
  • Paul Hickey as Mervyn Griffith-Jones
    Mervyn Griffith-Jones
    John Mervyn Guthrie Griffith-Jones, CBE MC QC was a British judge and former barrister. He is most famous for leading the prosecution of Penguin Books in the obscenity trial in 1960 following the publication of D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover...

  • Rupert Vansittart
    Rupert Vansittart
    Rupert Vansittart is an English character actor. He has appeared in a variety of roles in film, television, radio and on stage, often playing comic or serio-comic characters....

     as Thomas J. Dodd
    Thomas J. Dodd
    Thomas Joseph Dodd was a United States Senator and Representative from Connecticut, He was the first Senator censured by the US Senate since Joseph McCarthy in 1954, and was one of only six people censured by the Senate in the 20th century. He is the father of former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd...

  • Stuart Bunce
    Stuart Bunce
    Stuart Alexander Bunce is an English actor who is best known for his portrayal of the First World War poet Wilfred Owen in the film Regeneration directed by Gillies MacKinnon.-Biography:...

     as Maj. Douglas Kelley
    Douglas Kelley
    Lt. Colonel Douglas McGlashan Kelley was an U.S. Army Intelligence officer who served as Nuremberg Prison Psychiatrist during the Nuremberg War Trials. Along with psychologist, Gustave Gilbert, they administered the Rorsach inkblot test to 22 Nazis inmates prior to their trial...

  • Paul Brennen as Fritz Sauckel
    Fritz Sauckel
    Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions from lands occupied by Nazi Germany...


  • Prof. Richard Overy
    Richard Overy
    Richard Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich. In 2007 as The Times editor of Complete History of the World he chose the 50 key dates of world history....

    : University of Exeter
    University of Exeter
    The University of Exeter is a public university in South West England. It belongs to the 1994 Group, an association of 19 of the United Kingdom's smaller research-intensive universities....

  • Richard Sonnenfeldt
    Richard Sonnenfeldt
    Richard W. Sonnenfeldt - was a Jewish-American engineer and corporate executive most notable for being the U.S...

    : Chief Interpreter
  • Henry T. King
    Henry T. King
    Henry T. King Jr. was an attorney who served as a U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946-47. Late in his career, he became a law professor and an activist, writer, and lecturer working on international law and war crimes; David M...

    : US Prosecution Team
  • Roger Barrett: US Prosecution Team
  • Whitney Harris: US Prosecutor
  • John E. Dolibois
    John E. Dolibois
    John Ernest Dolibois is a retired United States Ambassador to Luxembourg and college administrator.A native of Luxembourg, Dolibois emigrated to the United States with his father in 1931...

    : US Army Intelligence
  • Emilio Di Palma: Prison Guard
  • Bud Jones: Prison Guard
  • Ernest Michel: Auschwitz Survivor
  • Harold Burson: Radio Journalist
  • Prof. Robert Gellatel: Historian
  • Prof. Edgar Jones: Psychopathologist
  • Prof. Simon Wessely
    Simon Wessely
    Simon Wessely is a British psychiatrist. He is professor of epidemiological and liaison psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and Head of its department of psychological medicine, Vice Dean for Academic Psychiatry, Teaching and Training at the Institute of Psychiatry, as...

    : Psychiatrist


Joe Joseph writing in The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

recommends the diligently researched series. Joseph commends the casting of Nathaniel Parker, Robert Pugh and Ben Cross alongside a vast array of costumed extras. He also admires the high production values that use meticulously constructed sets and washed out colours to match modern reconstructions to archive footage. Joseph however feels the production failed to achieve the right balance within the docudrama format.

David Chater writing in the same paper goes even further stating that the strength of the series rests in the contribution from eyewitnesses and historians and it is pointless to go to all the trouble and expense of the dramatic re-constructions. Although he does commend the series for shedding light on the crimes of individual members of the Nazi party and some of the personal, moral and political issues that surrounded the trials, he feels that it would have been far more effective as a straight documentary.

Harry Venning writing in The Stage
The Stage
The Stage is a weekly British newspaper founded in 1880, available nationally and published on Thursdays. Covering all areas of the entertainment industry but focused primarily on theatre, it contains news, reviews, opinion, features and other items of interest, mainly to those who work within the...

proclaimed the series a cut above the standard drama-doc complementing the sparing use of claustrophobically set dramatic recreations and Nathaniel Parker’s suggestive performance but proclaiming that it was Robert Pugh’s sneering, swaggering, unrepentant portrayal of Göring that stole the show.

Andrew Anthony writing in The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

commended the use of the dual docudrama format for examining the enigmatic Albert Speer in the first episode. Anthony also extols Nathaniel Parker’s cool portrayal of the “Nazi who said sorry”.

Editor Ben Giles was nominated for his work on the show in the Best Editing - Factual category at the 2007
2007 in television
2007 in television may refer to:*2007 in American television*2007 in Australian television*2007 in British television*2007 in Canadian television*2007 in Japanese television...

 British Academy Television Craft Awards.

Episode one: Albert Speer

Episode one was broadcast on 25 September 2006 and drew 2.1 million viewers (9% audience share)

Clive Morgan writing in The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

calls the film an adroitly drawn, grimly fascinating hour and claims the film does a rather good job of sifting the complexities and ambiguities of Speer from a welter of courtroom detail and other historical records and commends it for cutting cleverly from actual to dramatised footage.

David Chater continues his criticism in The Times by proclaiming the dramatic reconstruction elements of this episode worse than pointless due to Nathanial Parker's unconvincing portrayal in the lead role.

Episode two: Hermann Goering

Episode two was broadcast on 2 October 2006 and drew 1.9 million viewers (8% audience share).

Chris Riley writing in The Daily Telegraph observes how the charismatic figure of Göring bestrides the entire series as he did at the trial itself. Riley also commends the recollections and pithy insights of the psychologist Gustave Gilbert that dot the episode.

Charter proclaims that not even a fine performance from Robert Pugh and immense pains that have been taken to ensure its authenticity can make the dramatisation feel real.

Episode three: Rudolf Hess

Episode three was broadcast on 9 October 2006 and drew 1.8 million million viewers.

Peter Naughton writing in The Daily Telegraph commends the film for excellently blending dramatised reconstructions and newsreel footage.

The Times dismisses the film as a hammy dramatisation.

Episode one: Albert Speer

Episode one questions whether the “nazi who said sorry”, whose actions were the most far reaching and significant of the trial, was a troubled soul seeking forgiveness of the German people or the mastermind of a cynical strategy that fooled the world?

The film begins with re-enactment of Speer's arrest, which US prosecutor Henry King says came as a surprise to the aristocratic Architect who became Hitler’s armaments minister. Following arrest he is convicted of war crimes and transferred to Nuremberg Prison with Herman Göring and other senior Nazis. Speer is confronted with full crimes of the Nazis and says he will admit common responsibility against the advice of his Defence attorney and US Army intelligence psychologist Capt. Gustav Gilbert takes an interest.

Chief Prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson is concerned about the public trial and expresses the value of a single witness willing to accept culpability. Fellow defendant Fritz Sauckel
Fritz Sauckel
Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions from lands occupied by Nazi Germany...

 incriminates Speer in the importation of slave labour. Speer admits to giving little thought to the legality or morality of this. Professor Richard Overy proposes that Speer saw his only chance in salvation was to establish a relationship with the Western prosecutors.

Speer’s defence put forward their clients countermandment of Hitler’s scorched Earth orders and plot on the Führer’s life breaking the Nazi’s common front and infuriating its leader Göring. Speer explains to Gilbert his plot to gas Hitler which US prosecutor Whitney Harris admits was risky but half-hearted. Gilbert realises Speer can be used by the prosecution, and on his advice, isolates Göring who prison guard Emilio Di Palma says was worshipped by the other defendants.

In the dock, Göring launches a devastatingly successful defence against cross-examination and Speer begins to waver. Jackson agrees to cross-examine Speer himself and according to Overy gives the defendant an easy ride. Harris says Speer gave the prosecution what they needed by freely acknowledging his individual responsibility and denouncing the crimes of Hitler and the Nazi regime. As a result Sauckel is sentenced to death while Speer gets only a 20-year prison sentence.

US Army intelligence officer John Dolibois concludes that Speer used his charisma very effectively, persuading a lot of people and pulling the wool over their eyes.

Episode two: Hermann Goering

Episode two questions whether Hitler’s chosen successor could succeed where he had failed by re-igniting Nazi pride from the witness box.

The film begins with a re-enactment of the press conference organised following the surrender of Herman Göring at which he expresses surprise that he is to be indicted for war crimes. The regime’s top soldier had a fun loving public image that concealed the brutality of the founder of the Gestapo. US Army intelligence psychologist Capt. Gustav Gilbert hears from the prisoner how he knows he will hang but first will convince the German people that what he did was for them

The suicides of Hitler and Himmler have left Göring the highest-ranking Nazi survivor and Prison Commandant Colonel Burton Andrus confides in Gilbert that without him they have not got a case. Prison guard Bud Jones tells of the extraordinary procedures put in place following the suicide of Robert Ley
Robert Ley
Robert Ley was a Nazi politician and head of the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945. He committed suicide while awaiting trial for war crimes.- Early life :...

. Gilbert is assigned prisoner liaison to watch over the inmates and Göring confides in him his wish to be remembered as a great man.

As the trial begins the defendants, led by Göring, are initially jubilant but US prosecutor Whitney Harris tells that a film on the camps brings home to them their crimes. Chief Prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson’s cross-examination of Göring collapses into farce thanks to the defendant’s glib responses which Professor Richard Overy reveals put the future of the trial in doubt. Radio Journalist Harold Burson explains British Prosecutor David Maxwell-Fyfe rescued the trial by changing tack and putting Göring on the ropes.

Harris explains that the belated capture of Auschwitz Commandant SS Lt-Col. Rudolf Höss finally revealed the true extent of the crimes and led to the defendants giving up the fight. Overy explains that Göring’s united front collapsed as one by one the defendants denounce Hitler and even Göring himself. Göring is subsequently sentenced to death by hanging. He lodges an appeal against the hanging, preferring a soldier’s death by shooting, but this is denied. The night of his execution he takes his own life with a cyanide capsule.

Overy concludes that with Göring sentenced and the Hitler myth destroyed the Third Reich was finally laid to rest.

Episode three: Rudolf Hess

Episode three explores the mind of one of the most fanatical of all Nazis and the insight that gives into the psychology of dictatorship.

Hess is brought to Nuremberg from the UK where he had flown 4 years earlier much to the bemusement of the British. Overy explains that they must have quickly realised he was not normal. In the intervening time Hess’s mental state and further deteriorated and when interviewed by Chief Interrogator Colonel John Amen proclaims amnesia. Chief Interpreter Richard Sonnenfeldt explains that they brought in Göring to confront Hess but that he too failed to make an impression.

The prosecutors fear Hess may be unfit for trial and Prison Psychiatrist Major Douglas Kelley is assigned to assess him. US Army Intelligence officer John Dolibois recalls that Kelley concludes from a Rorschach Inkblot test that Hess is not a true amnesiac but may have even convinced himself. US prosecutor Whitney Harris explains how after the trial begins with Hess pleading “Nein” the defendant claims to have been faking all along. However Sonnenfeldt points out that as the trial continues Hess’s behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and paranoid.

Psychopathologist Prof. Edgar Jones proposes Hess’s behaviour patterns may be his way of escaping reality as he is forced to face the extent of the atrocities and choose between accepting his part of the blame or forsaking his Führer. However as history Professor Robert Gellatel explains it is difficult to construct a case against Hess as he was imprisoned in England when the worst of the atrocities were carried out so British Prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones must argue a conspiracy charge linking the pre-1939 persecutions to the post-1939 atrocities and a crimes against peace charge proving the flight to Scotland was merely a ruse.

Meanwhile an increasingly unstable Hess is preparing to make an explosive revelation. Prisoner liaison Gustave M. Gibert discovers what this may be in Hess’s British medical records where he talks of being hypnotised by a secret Jewish drug. In his final statement Hess makes a long rambling speech, which Gilbert explains blames the Jews for their own elimination, ending with his exultation of the Führer. Hess is consequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

In prison Hess drafts a letter proclaiming himself Führer of the Fourth Reich and becomes an icon of the neo-Nazi movement
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