Acacians at Nuremberg
Lieutenant Colonel William J. Wuest, a Cincinnati alumnus, was present at the first Nuremberg trials as a member of the Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel (the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Jackson). Brother Wuest provided this eye-opening first-hand account:
"I am now at Nuremberg, the former 'holy of holies' of the Nazis, and am living at the Grand Hotel formerly used as headquarters for Hilter and his rats. In the evening there is dancing and entertainment in the Marble Room, as its name implies built entirely of marble. Six enormous crystal chandeliers light up the room. The headwaiter wears full dress, the floor show is changed twice a week, and the orchestra is outstanding. All for free. If you feel generous you can give the waiter a few cigarettes for a tip. A cigarette is worth (to him) about 35 cents and cost us 3/10 of a cent.
"This is a world where the cigarette, the chocolate bar and the bar of soap are mediums of wealth. Money means little or nothing...since there is little that they can buy with it. Fortunes have been made in the black market. A carton of cigarettes which cost us 45 cents will bring 1,000 marks or $100 on the black market in various cities. With the new currency control methods which prevent exportation of dollars in excess of pay received, the black market has been dealt a serious if not mortal blow.
"I attended a recent morning session of the trial. It is quite an impressive sight. I had a good seat in the Press section. To the right on a high bench overlooking everything are the eight members of the Tribunal from the four powers. Heading the Tribunal is Lord Justice Lawrence, Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal, England. The U.S. members are Francis Biddle, former U.S. Attorney General, and John J. Parker, Court of Appeals. Justice Jackson is the prosecuting attorney for the U.S.
"To the left facing the Tribunal sit the Nazis — Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop, Keitel, etc. They don't look like super-men to me — more like a bunch of German tradesmen. Goering is wearing a gray suit which fits him loosely (he has lost a lot of weight). Hess does not appear to have them all. Keitel, former German Army Chief of Staff, is the only one in uniform and looks every inch a soldier.
"Every seat in the courtroom has earphones and a four-point switch. As the witness on the stand gives his testimony it is immediately translated into the three other languages. You select whichever language you can understand — German, French, Russian or English."
Another Acacian, Harold L. Sebring — a Florida Supreme Court Justice and the youngest one appointed to that position at the time — was selected to be a judge in the second phase in the War Criminals Tribunal.