Judgment At Nuremberg

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Characters; 15 male, 4 female

1 set (other locations simply suggested); optional projections and slides.

Maximilian Schell and George Gizzard starred on Broadway in the powerful stage version of an Academy Award winning film. Ernest Janning, one of the most influential German legal minds of the pre war era, and other influential Nazis face a military tribunal in the second wave of post war trials at Nuremberg. Issues at the forefront of this trial reverberate through history and challenge humanity to this day.

"A powerful work of art." AP.

"Gives oratory the muscle, sweat and high stakes of a last man standing prize fight." N.Y. Times.

"A magnificent re enactment of the seminal trials of the modern era." Newsweek.

"Retains its power to move and provoke us." Time.

"A powerhouse." Newsday.

"Amazing. For once you won't feel dramatically undernourished." Journal News.

"A marvelous courtroom drama." WOR.

"Powerful, potent, gripping edge of the seat drama." Walter Cronkite.

"Incisive, blistering, thought provoking.... Crises out powerfully to our own time in countless ways." Chicago Sun Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Judgment at Nuremberg retains its power to move and provoke us.
Walter Cronkite
Magnificent. It's powerful,potent,a gripping edge-of-the-seat drama.
It's devastating and the culmination of a magnificent re-enactment of the seminal trials of the modern era.
New York Times
A play that gives oratory the muscle,sweat and high stakes of a last man standing prize fight.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780573627897
  • Publisher: Samuel French, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 376,789
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2002 Abby Mann
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0811215261

Chapter One



[Colonel Tad Parker walks down the corridor with General Matthew Merrin. Parker is the head of the prosecution of the remaining Nuremberg trials. It is not difficult to see why he has been spoken of as a man with a political future. He has at his fingertips a complete command of the legal procedure, and a hard-hitting, precise sense of delivery. Add to this an erect, handsome presence. Yet there is something else beneath the surface of the man. A weariness. A weariness akin to sickness. He has looked into a great deal of evil in man. It has affected him. It has robbed him of a basic buoyancy and optimism.

General Merrin, a vigorous man in his fifties, is personable, intelligent. He sees his job through one lens: is it good for his country?

Captain Byers enters with Judge Dan Haywood. Haywood is the "vanishing American." He is like many men in his fifties trying to find his identity. A man with far greater capacities than he realizes. Earl Warren was thought by many to be a professional party hack until he was on the Supreme Court. Haywood is such a man, also.

Captain Byers is a black man in his late twenties. He is graduated from West Point.]

Colonel Parker: Hello Judge.

Haywood: Hello.

Capt. Byers: This is General Merrin.

Haywood: Hello.

General Merrin: Ever been to Germany before?

Haywood: Just once. In World War I.

Colonel Parker: Your quarters okay?

Haywood: They've given me this mansion with three servants and this garden. I got lost trying to find my way to the bedroom. I really don't need all this.

Colonel Parker: When the government does something it does it right. You know that.

Haywood: Three servants?

Capt. Byers: We're doing it for them as well as for you. This way they eat.

Haywood: I guess I need three servants.

Colonel Parker: Good to have you here. We need people like you.

Haywood: I'm sure I was the only man in America qualified for the job.

Colonel Parker: I beg your pardon?

Haywood: There have been trials of Goering. Streicher. Frank. A lot of people think it's enough.

Colonel Parker [dryly]: So?

Haywood: So it's made a hell of a lack of candidates for this job. You even had to beat the backwoods of North Carolina to come up with a hick like me.


Colonel Parker: I hope you're not sorry you came.

Haywood: No. I'm not sorry I came. I just want you to know I know where the bodies are buried. The only thing is I don't know anything about international law.

Colonel Parker: Who does? Except a few professors at Columbia-and I'm not sure they know.

Haywood: I hope I'm up to it.

Colonel Parker: Of course you are. Relax. Enjoy things while you can. I'm sure you'll get used to living in a big house and having three servants. Capt. Byers, show Judge Haywood around Nuremberg. It's a fascinating place. Goes back to 1219. Enjoy the lakes and the greenery. They have no politics.

Haywood: I would like to see something of the town, something of the people.

Capt. Byers: Nuremberg is yours Sir, what there is left of it.

[Haywood and Captain Byers exit. Colonel Parker looks at General Merrin bitterly.]

Colonel Parker: He's right. He's not up to it. [Bitterly.] My God. The way we started. We had men like Biddle and Jackson. Now we have hicks from the hinterlands with plenty of experience in traffic violations.


[Capt. Byers leads Haywood down what was once the center of Nuremberg's business section.]

Capt. Byers: This is the main street. It's called Karolina Strasse, Sir.

Haywood: You're career Army, aren't you, Captain?

Capt. Byers: Yes Sir.

Haywood: What's your first name?

Capt. Byers: Harrison, Harry.

Haywood: Well, Harry, you see I'm not Army and this formality makes me a little uncomfortable. Do you think it would be too much an infraction of rules for you to call me "Judge" or "Dan" or something?

Capt. Byers: Yes Sir-Judge.

Haywood: How long have you been here Harry?

Capt. Byers: Two years.

Haywood: Two years. It's a long time.

CAPT. BYERS: Yes Sir, judge.

Haywood: Have any friends here?

Capt. Byers: Sure.

Haywood: German friends?

Capt. Byers: They're too friendly to be friends.

Haywood: A girl?

Capt. Byers: Yes. Her parents were Nazis. But she was eight years old when they came to power.

Haywood: I didn't ask that.

Capt. Byers: I know, but maybe you were thinking it. It's natural to think about it. I thought if anybody was going to indoctrinate her it might as well be me.

[Both laugh.]

Haywood: You don't care much for this assignment do you?

Capt. Byers: Not much.

Haywood: Don't you think the trials are important?

Capt. Byers: My feelings are the same as Churchill's. We should have held a military trial and shot them.

Haywood: If they were found guilty.

Capt. Byers: After they were found guilty. Then we can start getting ready for the next war.

Haywood: And what war might that be?

Capt. Byers: The war with the Russians, of course.

Haywood: I see.

Capt. Byers: Well, you're in the heart of what used to be Nuremberg's business section. You know, Nuremberg was a great toy center.

Haywood: Really?

Capt. Byers: It was also the anti-Semitism center. This is where the first authorized violence against the Jews happened.

Haywood: Authorized?

Capt. Byers: Hitler and his government tried an experiment. They decided on a 24-hour boycott of Jewish stores. They wanted to see whether the average German would protest or if they would be taken to task by the newspapers and the radio programs. It was a great success, better than they ever dreamed. The SS painted the shop windows and made the Jewish proprietors come out and clean the sidewalks-with a toothbrush no less.

[Capt. Byers continues to explain what happened. As he does, we see on the screen behind them documentary footage of Crystal Night. Jewish stars painted on store windows. Proprietors being beaten in the streets. A woman being pulled through the street by her hair by German soldiers. After the footage has faded, there is a moment of silence.]

Haywood: Hard to believe it really happened, isn't it?

Capt. Byers: Not for me.

Haywood: Why?

CAPT. BYERS [looks at couple passing by]: I've known these people. They speak another language and dress differently, but they're just like people in my hometown, people in my own unit.

Haywood: What are you trying to say? Are you trying to say what happened here could happen at home?

Capt. Byers: Can I imagine that the people there would have done things like this if there wasn't a government to stop them and they might be punished? I guess a day doesn't pass when I don't wonder about that. [Pause; he sees that Haywood is disturbed.] Sorry if I've upset you. But people with my shade of skin react differently to what happened here than people with your shade of skin.

Haywood: I understand.

Capt. Byers: Come on. I'll take you to Zeppelin Field where they held the rallies.


[Haywood and two other judges, Ives and Norris, enter. They sit before their individual microphones. Ives is in his sixties. He has been at Nuremberg since the trials started. He is a political conservative and he has found himself surprisingly identifying with some of the men in the dock. Norris is in his late forties. A soft-spoken man with a New England accent. His main experience had been as a law professor in Maine. Like Haywood, he is awed by the position of responsibility he has been put in. The defendants are in their places in the dock. Colonel Parker and defense attorneys are present.]

Capt. Byers: The Tribunal is now in session. God save the United States of America and this honorable Tribunal.

[All are seated.]

Haywood: The Tribunal will arraign the defendants. The microphone will now be placed in front of the defendant Emil Hahn.

[Erect, Hahn stares out at the Tribunal as though he were the accuser instead of the accused. His bald, alert head takes in every detail of the courtroom.]

Haywood: Emil Hahn. Are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

EMIL HAHN [rises abruptly]: Not guilty.


Haywood: The question is, are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

Hahn [abruptly]: I am represented.

Haywood: How do you plead to the charges and specifications set forth in the indictment against you-guilty or not guilty?

Hahn: Not guilty on all counts.

Haywood: You may be seated.

[The microphone is placed before the next defendant. Hoffstetter is in his late forties. He wears a pince-nez. His clothing is correct and neat, making him look like nothing so much as a middle-class businessman who has fallen on hard times.]

Haywood: Frederick Hoffstetter. Are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

[Hoffstetter looks at Haywood anxiously. His manner is courteous, straightforward and sincere.]

Hoffstetter: Yes, Your Honor. I am represented by counsel.

Haywood: How do you plead to the charges and specifications set forth in the indictment against you-guilty or not guilty?

Hoffstetter: Not guilty, Your Honor.

Haywood: You may be seated.

[Hoffstetter is seated. The microphone is placed before the next man. Werner Lammpe looks dully ahead, neither to the right nor the left. He is in his eighties. Everything seems a nightmare to him in these days. He is mystified at why he is here.]

Haywood: Werner Lammpe. Are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

Lammpe [his voice quavers tremulously]: Counsel? Yes.

Haywood: How do you plead to the charges and specifications set forth in the indictment against you-guilty or not guilty?

Lammpe [nods slowly, then looks toward Haywood; his lips tremble]: Not guilty.

Haywood: You may be seated.

[Lammpe sits down. Microphone is placed before Ernst Janning, known as one of the great figures in the German judicial system in the pre-Nazi era. His every feature and characteristic is known to the German people. His enormous height, his stooped, hulking shoulders. Janning had been Minister of Justice of Germany and his reputation before that had been such that even Hitler tempered his antagonism toward him. Janning's defection to the Nazis is one of the most discussed mysteries of the era.]

Haywood: Ernst Janning, are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

[Janning remains seated. The expression on his face is beyond that of not having heard what Haywood has said. Beyond that of not having any interest in what he has said.]

Haywood: Ernst Janning, are you represented by counsel before this Tribunal?

[Oskar Rolfe, defense attorney for Janning, rises. He is in his early thirties. His training was mainly at the university of Berlin. He was unable to practice law because of the war. It had taken care of all that. Five bloody years ripped out of his life. He has sat in the Nuremberg courtroom for the last year and a half knowing this was the place to make up for them. He has watched Goering outwit a great American jurist, Robert Jackson. He has watched his own colleagues flounder and fall into irrelevancies and be lost in their own need for personal rationalizations. He has watched what he thought was a band of hypocrites justifying their own need for vengeance by high sounding verbiage covered over by moral platitudes that stood just so much scrutiny and no more. He is determined to take on these Americans and their concept of justice according to their own rules. He is determined to hoist them up by their own petards once and for all.]

Rolfe: I represent the defendant Your Honors.

Haywood [still addressing Janning]: How do you plead to the charges and specifications set forth in the indictment against you-guilty or not guilty?

[The M.P. behind Janning brusquely raises him to his feet and snaps the earphones over his ears.]

Rolfe: May I address the court.

Haywood: Yes.

Rolfe: The defendant does not recognize the authority of this Tribunal and wishes to lodge a formal protest in lieu of pleading.

Excerpted from JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG by ABBY MANN Copyright © 2002 by Abby Mann
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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