2017. április 3., hétfő

A Salemi Boszorkányper

A Salemi Boszorkányper




Bevezetés 

Hosszú szünet után, főként az egyetemi munkához és az amerikai élethez való asszimilálodas végett, úgy döntöttem hogy folytatom a világtörténelem különböző pereseteit feldolgozó blogomat. A választásom egy nemcsak az egyetemem államában, hanem egy világszerte hírhedt perre esett. A Salemi boszorkányper a világtörténelem egyik legjobban dokumentált boszorkányper esete. Az új bejegyzés tekinthető egy visszalépésnek is az elmúlt időszakban feldolgozott pereseteimtől amik főként modern, 20. századi perekkel foglalkoztak.
A 21. század lencséin keresztül visszatekinteni a salemi esetre egy vélhetően különleges élmény lesz számomra és az olvasóim számára is. A közelmúltban az a szerencse ért hogy a családommal ellátogathattam Salembe. Ebből kifolyólag a bejegyzésem a "kíséret járta temetőben" készült kepeket is tartalmazni fog. Valamint további képeket fogok közzétenni a feldolgozás során a város különböző pontjairól, amik mind a 17. század borzasztó eseménye  emlékének tisztelegnek. Annak ellenére hogy a boszorkányokban vagy boszorkányságban való hit szinte elképzelhetetlen a jelenlegi életünkben, a per történelmi tényállása azon hitet és megállapitást is figyelembe fogja venni ami megmérgezte az amerikai telepesek elméjét és 20 ártatlan ember, főként nők, tömeges kivégzéséhez vezetett.

A salemi eset ugyan a legjobban dokumentált boszorkányper, ám nem az első amiről feljegyzések maradtak fent. 1647-ben hasonló eseményekről tanúskodik néhány fennmarad irat Connecicut államból.

Kétség kívül elengedhetetlen a történelmi tényállás figyelembevétele hogy teljes képet kapjunk a salemi eseményekről A 17. század közepén Amerika lakosságának legnagyobb része európai telepesekből állt akik, több más ok mellett, azért hagyták el az öreg kontinenst hogy szabadon gyakorolhassák vallásukat az Újvilágban. Ezen szabadság a 21. században is az amerikai demokrácia egyik alappillére. A 17. századi Salem város lakosságának vallása a puritán ideológián (angol református protestantizmus) alapult. Ha a korabeli emberek extrém vallásos beállítottságát figyelembe vesszuk, a boszorkányság vádja valószínűsíthetőnek tűnik és a vádalap megállja a helyét.

Végül de nem utolsósorban számtalan történész és szakértő azon az állásponton van, hogy a per főként politikai megfontolásból esett meg A bizonyítékuk erre a teóriára azon alapul, hogy az első vádlottak Parris tiszteletes lánya es unokahúga voltak. Az előbbi személy a közösség vezetője volt és a pert megelőző időszakban temérdek kritika érte Salem lakosságától.




Történelmi tényállás :

1692 januárjában két fiatal Salemi lány (Betty és Abigail) furcsa tüneteket kezdtek demonstrálni amik között a hisztériaroham és tárgyak indok nélküli szét rombolása szerepelt. Egy helyi orvos, William Griggs, ellátogatott a tiszteletes házába, hogy megvizsgálja a lányokat. Rövid vizsgálat után nem tudott orvosi szakvéleményt formálni. Az elkövetkezendő napokban a lányok tünetei tovább folytatódtak és városszerte több nő is hasonló viselkedést kezdett demonstrálni. Az orvos megállapítása boszorkányság volt.
Griggs kijelentésével megkezdődött a hírhedt Salemi boszorkányper, ami a 17.szazad egyik legjobban ismert jogi esete.

Bírók és a vád képviselői:

William Stoughton -Bíró

Thomas Newton- Ügyvéd

Stephen Sewall- Írnok

Anthony Checkley- Ügyvéd

Jonathan Elatson- Írnok

A per kronológiája:

Február, 1692: Betty és Abigail Parris furcsa tüneteket kezdenek demonstrálni 

Február, 1692: Három embert boszorkánysággal vádolnak

Március, 1692: A vádlottak száma egyre nő

Április, 1692: További vádlottak kerülnek őrizetbe és megkezdődnek a potenciális boszorkányok kihallgatásai

Május, 1692: Bizonyítékok hiányában néhány vádlott nőtt felmentenek

Június 2, 1692 : A tárgyalás kezdete -Oyer és Terminal járási bíróság 

Június 30, 1692: A bíróság visszavonul és ítéletet hirdetnek

Július, 1692: A vád végrehajtása. Az elitélt boszorkányok tömeges kivégzése

Augusztus, 1692: A kivégzések folytatódnak

Szeptember, 1692: További nyomozás és újabb vádlottak kerülnek őrizetbe

Január, 1693: A Legfelsőbb Bíróság beszünteti a pert és a még őrizetben maradt vádlottakat felmenti

Április, 1693: A Salemi boszorkányperek befejeződnek és a bíróság visszavonul






A per

A pert a potenciális boszorkánysággal vádolt emberek hosszas kihallgatása előzte meg. Ezeket főként kormányhivatalnokok, mint Jonathan Corvin, vezették. 1692 februárja és júniusa között a pert megelőző kihallgatások és nyomozások végülis 36 ember megvádolásához vezettek.
A vádlottak száma két különböző okból kifolyólag nőtt. Elsősorban a már megvádolt nőket megfélemlítették és megzsarolták tehát ebből kifolyólag főként félelemből vagy bevallották a boszorkányság vádját, vagy pedig azt vallották, hogy további cinkosok segítették őket.

A vádlottak száma tehát egyre nőtt, azonban hivatalos meghallgatás sem és tárgyalás sem történt június 2-áig. 1692. május 27-én, egy hivatalos, a kormány által kibocsátott, végzés alapján létrejött az Oyer es Terminal járásbeli bíróság, azzal a céllal, hogy hivatalos ítélet szülessen és a vádlottakat az igazságszolgáltatás elítélhesse. Az előbbi bíróság lett tehát a Salemi boszorkanyper központi helyszíne.

A hivatalos per 1692. június 2-án kezdődött. Ugyanazon hónap 30. napján a bíróság visszavonult azonban az események 1693 áprilisáig folytatódtak.

Az első ítélet Bridget Bishop tárgyalásán született. A nő hírhedt volt a közösségen belül, ugyanis szakadt, fekete ruhában keringett a település különböző részein. A bíró 24 órán belül ítéletet hozott és elítélte a nőt boszorkányság vádjával (mindenfajta bizonyíték hiányában, ugyanis a vádiratban a nő megjelenésen kívül semmi nem szerepelt). Az első vádlottat a tárgyalását követően nyolc napon belül kivégezték.

A bíróság egy viszonylag hosszabb időszakra visszavonult majd június közepén kiadott egy hivatalos iratot amelyben az eseményeket boszorkánysághoz és ördögimádáshoz kötötte. Isten akaratát tehát a bíróság megállapítása szerint megsértették a vádlottak és a bizonyítékok hiányának ellenére a bíróság folytatta további munkáját.

A nyár folyamán a potenciális boszorkányok listája egyre csak nőtt. Úgy nézett ki nem érkezik megváltás a vádlottak számára, hiszen a vádak egyre csak súlyosbodtak miután a bíróság ördögimádassal kötötte egybe az eseményeket

Nathaniel Saltonstall, a bíróság egyik tagja, a bizonyítékok hiánya végett visszalépett a rábízott feladatoktól. Visszalépésének ellenére további embereket vádolták meg egészen szeptemberig és a véres “Salemi Boszorkányper” tovább szedte áldozatait.

A szeptemberi események, véleményem szerint, minden fenmaradt feltételezhető igazságot kizárnak a perrel kapcsolatban. Giles Corey, miután megtagadta az ellene felhozott vádakat, embertelen kínzásnak lett részese -a mellkasára helyeztek súlyos köveket, amik végül a halálához vezettek. Ez idő alatt a bíróság folyamatosan halálos ítéleteket hozott a vádlottak számára és bizonyos esetekben újabb vádakat hoztak fel az elmúlt hónapok során a fogdából kikerült, felmentett emberek ellen. Valószínűsíthetően a rendkívül embertelen, véres eseményeknek köszönhetően októbertől kezdve a kivégzéseket leállították és nem történt több tárgyalás. Történészek, azonban, úgy gondolják hogy egy alternatív ok vezetett a meghallgatások azonnali befejezéséhez. Ezen ok az lehetett hogy Phip kormányzó feleségét egyre inkább elkezdte körüllengeni a boszorkányság pletykája a közösségen belül. Véleményem szerint az előbbi teória valóban az igazi indok a tárgyalások leállítására, ugyanis a véres ítéletek valószínűleg elrettenthették a kormányzót. Senki sem érezhette magát biztonságban a közösség vallásossággal átitatott őrületében.

A salemi perek átmeneti felfüggesztését követően, 1693 januárjában, a Legfelsőbb Bíróság (ismét William Stoughton vezetésével) új jogi alapot biztosított, hogy a tárgyalások tovább folyhassanak. Az ezt követő események természete azonban teljes mértékben eltérő volt az ezt megelőző vérengzésektől. Minden börtönben tartózkodó vádlottat felmentettek és szabadlábra való helyezésüket kérvényezték. Néhányukat napokon belül kiengedték a vallásos őrület által kovácsolt cellájukbol. Mindezek ellenére tizenhét további embert még meghallgattak a bíróságon és hármukat halálra ítélték. Kijelenthető tehát, hogy a bíróság meggyőződése a boszorkányság vádjával kapcsolatban nem teljesen változott pozitív irányba. A halálbüntetések kiszabásainak ellenére több kivégzés nem történt, mert a kormányzó minden, a halálsoron várakozó embert, fölmentett. Egy sajnálatos haláleset, tragédia, azonban ekkor is történt, mert a vádlottakat csak akkor engedték ki cellájukból, ha az úgynevezett ‘börtöni díjukat’ kifizették a közösségnek; egy nő azonban életét vesztette mielőtt rendezte volna a "tartozását".

A ‘Salemi Boszorkányperek’ áprilisban a végükhöz értek miután az utolsó öt megvádolt nő is szabadon távozhatott.



Személyes vélemény:

Aprólékos kutatás és hosszas megfigyelés alapján úgy gondolom hogy a történelmi tényállás szerepét elengedhetetlen, hogy kiemeljük a perrel kapcsolatban. A 17. századi Amerika technológiai és jogi fejlettsége mérföldekre állt a mai kifinomult formájától. Fontos kijelenteni, hogy az események meg se történtek volna ha William Griggs(orvos), körültekintő orvosi szakvéleményt alkotott volna a tiszteletes rokonairól. Ehelyett, a medicina professzionalizmussának hiányában, a doktor semmilyen belátható orvosi véleményt nem tudott alkotni, inkább boszorkányságot kiáltott. Kétség sem fér hozzá, hogy ehhez hasonló koholt vádak és megfigyelések elképzelhetetlenek a 21. században.
Továbbá, ha eltekintünk korunk nézőpontjától és a boszorkányságot legitim vádalapnak tekintjük, a per folyamata is rendkívül megkérdőjelezhető.
 A pert megelőző hosszas, hónapokig tartó vádaskodások és az igazságosság valamint a fair elbírálás teljes hiánya kizárja egy erős alapokkal rendelkező, bizonyítékokkal alátámasztott bírósági döntés meghozatalát.

Vérlázító belegondolni abba hogy az esemeny első áldozatának, Bridget Bishopnak a pere,  kevesebb mint 24 óra alatt lezajlott és nyolc napon belül felakasztották boszorkányság vádja miatt. Az amerikai igazságszolgáltatás alappillére a vádlottak igazságos elbírálása. Az igazságos elbírálás az amerikai bíróságokon a bizonyítékokon alapul. Megkérdőjelezhetetlen, teljes bizonyítékok hiányában az elítélt nem kerülhet börtönbe vagy villamosszékbe.

Az esküdtszék ugyan nem volt jelen a salemi boszorkányperek esetén, de egy teljes bizottság döntött a vádak végkimeneteléről, továbbá a közvélemény is hevesen követte az eseményeket, éppen ezért úgy gondolom, hogy párhuzamot vonhatunk az esküdtszék mai formája es salemi per között. Az amerikai igazságszolgáltatásban nem diadalmaskodhatnak koholt vádak, mert az esküdtszék döntése számít a legtöbb esetben és ha tagjai minimális bizonytalanságot éreznek a bizonyítékokkal kapcsolatban, a vádlott felmentés alá kerül. Az ellentmondás a bizonyitékok körül kizárja a vádak diadalát.

Ennek fényében, ha visszatekintünk a salemi eseményekre, azon belül is Bridget Bishop esetére, akinek a ruházata és viselkedése elégnek bizonyult, hogy bitófára kerüljön. Véleményem szerint a Salemben megtörtént események teljes ellenpéldái annak az elvrendszernek amiért az Amerikai Egyesült Allamok törvényhozása és igazságszolgáltatása nap mint nap kiáll. Az igazság, ami a modern Amerika központi elve, teljes mértékben figyelmen kívül maradt a ‘Salemi Boszorkányper’ alatt. 

Lydia Dustin esete, akit felmentettek ám életét vesztette a cellájában mielőtt rendezte volna a közösségnek fizetendő díját, további kétségekhez vezet a salemi perekkel kapcsolatban. A jelenleg érvényben lévő nemzetközi szabályozások amik az őrizetben tartott embereket védik, illetve a világ legtöbb országában kimondják egy börtön vagy fogda működtetésének alapszabályait, teljes mértékben szemben állnak azzal a tragikus és embertelen halállal amit Lydia elszenvedett. Elég belegondolni mi történne ha hasonló egy esemény játszódna le a világ egyik fejlett országában. A médiában való publikáció után a közvélemény teljes megrökönyödése követné egy hamis vádakkal illetett személy halálát, ha azt a kormány tisztviselők ilyen mértékben befolyásolnák.

Összefoglalásképpen úgy vélem hogy az évszázadokkal ezelőtt lejátszódott perbe való betekintés egy izgalmas újrakezdése a blogomnak és egyfajta más szemszögbeli megközelítés, mint amit az előzőleg feldolgozott 20.-21. századi perekben mutattam be. A jelenlegi igazságszolgáltatás és törvényhozás kényelméből, valamint a jogszerű elbírálás komfort zónájából visszatekintve a vallás, illetve a technológiai és jogi visszamaradottság mind fontos elemei a salemi boszorkánypereknek.

Úgy gondolom hogy a 300 évvel ezelőtt lejátszódott massachussetsi események minden, a jog iránt érdeklődő ember számára figyelmeztető jelleggel kell hassanak ; a 21. századi igazságszolgáltatási rendszer egy hosszú és rögös út gyümölcse

Az állam és a kormány szétválasztása a bizonyítékok és a vallásos dogmák szétválasztásához is vezetett a modern társadalomban, mert nem engedhetjük hogy egy állam polgárait vallásos elvakultság vagy radikális meggyőződés tartson a markában a bíróság előtt. Ha ezt csak egyszer is hagyjuk megtörténni, semmi sem garantálja azt, hogy egyszer megfigyelőkből vádlottak lehetünk majd.

Remélem, hogy minden olvasom élvezettel követte a per feldolgozását és hamarosan újabb bejegyzéssel jelentkezem!!!



Források:





English version:

http://greatesttrialsofhistory.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-salem-witch-trials.html 

2017. március 19., vasárnap

The Salem Witch Trials


Introduction 
After a long-break off from my blog, due to intensive college work and assimilation to university life in Boston, I decided to continue my blog with a trial, not only infamous in the state of my university, but also all around the globe. The Salem Witch Trials can be considered the most well-documented ‘witch-hunt trials’ of history. I take a step back from the 20th century trials I had been working on in the past few instances because I consider the Salem trials immensely intriguing and important cases. Reflecting upon such a case through the lens of the modern, civilized 21st century will be an interesting journey to embark on. I recently had the privilege to visit Salem with my family so I am going to include pictures that I took in the ‘haunted graveyard’ and all around the city that has a tourism built on the horrific events of the 17th century. 
Although, belief in witches and witchcraft is highly unlikely today, the historical bearing of the case will be based on the belief that tainted the minds of several colonial Americans and led to the devastating mass execution of  20 innocent people, mostly women. 
Salem, although the most widely recited witch trial of history, is not the first that occurred with documentation. 1647 marks the date of similar events occurring in Connecticut.
In order gain thorough understanding of the causes and the events of the Salem Witch Trials, one should carefully consider the historical context that surrounded it. In the mid-17th century, America was mostly inhabited by European settlers who, among other reasons, fled the Old Continent and colonized the new landmass with religious freedom in mind. It is, even today, a crucially significant aspect of the free American society. Nevertheless, religious freedom and the practice of religion in the 17th century Salem was based on Puritan ideology(English Reformed Protestants). Given the extremely religious mindset of the local population, the charges of witchcraft do seem likely and justifiable -to the people of that time-. 
Last, but not least, many historians and experts on the events believe that the trials were conducted mainly because of political reasons. Their evidence for this theory is that the first people accused of witchcraft were the daughter and the niece of Reverend Parris, who was the leader of the community and had been subject of intense criticism by the public during the preceding period of the Witch Trials. 








Historical Bearings
In January 1692 two Salem-based girls (Betty and Abigail) began to demonstrate strange symptoms that ranged from hysterical outbursts of shivering to throwing things all around the room. A local doctor, William Griggs, visited the house of Reverend Samuel Parris where the two girls resided. After inspecting the girls and thinking about the symptoms, he could not come up with any medical explanation. In the upcoming days the behavior of the two young girls continued and other women all around the town began to experience similar symptoms. The diagnosis of Griggs was ‘bewitchment’. And thus began the infamous, bone-shaking Salem Witch Trials, probably the most well-known legal event of the 17th century.
Judges and representatives of the prosecution:
William Stoughton - Chief Magistrate
Thomas Newton - Crown’s Attorney
Stephen Sewall- Clerk
Anthony Checkley- Attorney General
Jonathan Elatson- Clerk

Chronology of the Trial
February 1692 :  Betty and Abigail Parris begin to demonstrate hysterical outbursts
February 1692: First three people are accused of witchcraft
March 1692: Accusations expand and more people are drawn to court
April 1692: Further accusations and interrogations of potential witches
May 1692: Lack of evidence saves some of the accused women
June 2, 1692: Formal trial - Court of Oyer and Terminel- opens
June 30, 1692: Court adjourns and verdict announced 
July, 1692: Verdict executed; mass execution of charged ‘witches’
August, 1692: Executions continue
September, 1692: Further accusations and charges announced
January, 1693: Superior Court of Judicature finalizes the trials of the remaining people charged by witchcraft. Pardons are granted and lives are speared. 
April, 1693: Salem Witch Trials terminate and court adjourns. 






The Trials
The trial had been preceded by a number of lengthy interrogations of the people potentially tainted by witchcraft. These were conducted mainly by government officials, such as Jonathan Corwin. The events that occurred between February 1692 and June 1692 were thus investigations that led to the accusation of more than 36 people. The list of accused ones grew out of two reasons. One was the fact that the already accused women were frightened and blackmailed and so primarily out of fear they either confessed the witchcraft, or even accused others as fellow evil worshippers. The accusations thus grew, however, no formal legal hearing or judicial sitting occurred until June 2. On May 27, 1692, however, a notion by government officials had been passed in regard of the establishment of ‘Court of Oyer and Terminal’ that aimed to arrive on a legal, official verdict of the accused people. This had been the center of the Salem Witch Trials.
The official trial - known to be conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminal- began on June 2, 1692. It adjourned only until June 30th, however, the events had been continually progressing until April 1693. 
The first person whose case received a verdict was Bridget Bishop. She was known to wander around the community in torn, black dresses, and the judge - within 24 hours of her trial!- considered her as a person committing witchcraft (without any evidence except for her behavior and her clothing!!) and the woman was executed in 8 days. 
The court adjourned for a relatively long time and in the middle of June it published a point-by-point letter that mainly consisted of the linking of events to witchcraft and devil-worshipping. The will of God thus had been violated according to the government and to legal officials and, although in the light of the lack of evidence, the court continued its proceedings with further accused people. Meanwhile, throughout the summer, the list of ‘potential witches’ had been growing in number. It seemed that relief for the accused people will not come, since their accusations had been expanded in severity due to unfaithful devil worshipping. Nathaniel Saltonstall, a member of the court, resigned from his membership because he believed that there is a lack of strong evidence against the women and men on death row. Despite his resignation, up until September, further accusations characterized the bloody Salem Witch Trials.
The events of September, I believe, destroy all remaining grounds of a potentially credible and just trial. Giles Corey, after refusing to make a plea, had been subject to such an intense amount of torture - by placing immensely heavy stones on the person’s chest- that resulted in his death. The court had been continuously subject of sentencing death to the accused people by this time, and in cases, they even reintroduced charges against those released from their primary accusations. Perhaps due to the increasingly bloody events, from around October, executions stopped and no more trials were held. Historians, however, believe that an alternate reason for the immediate termination of the hearings could be that Governor Phip’s wife had been increasingly blamed for witchcraft among the people. This observation is highly credible in my opinion given the fact that the accusations had been continuously growing in number and severity throughout the summer and the fall, even though the trials have been getting bloodier in nature. No one was safe from the secular madness of the community.
Following the temporary termination of the Salem Trials, in January 1693, a Superior Court of Judicature led again by William Stoughton reintroduced the legal ground for the events. However, a change of nature in the events were to follow. All the previously charged people who have been in prison since September, and were waiting for their trials, had been found innocent and were to be released from prison.Another group were having their charges dismissed immediately. However, a remaining 17 people were tried in court and 3 of them were sentenced to death. Thus,the court’s conviction regarding the events of witchcraft had not been completely altered for the better. Despite the death sentences, no more executions were implemented because the Governor issued pardons for the people on death row. A death, however, still occurred during these events, since people were not to be released from prison until their jail fees were to be fully paid for the community, and a woman had passed away before repaying her ‘debt’. 
The Salem Witch Trials finally concluded in April, after the remaining 5 accused women had their charges dismissed. 






  
Personal Opinion
After careful research and hours of brainstorming devoted to the case I believe that a crucial aspect should be highlighted; historical context. What I mean by this is that in the 17th century America technology and legal doctrines were far from the state of development they are in currently. It is an important observation to point out, that the witch trials would have never even occurred if William Griggs would have diagnosed the girls of Reverend Parris on reasonable medical ground. Instead, due to the context of medicine that lacked the professionalism that we devote to it today, the doctor could not come up with any solution and cried out “bewitchment”. Without a doubt, such a shocking outburst is highly unlikely nowadays. 
At the same time, if we apart ourselves from the lens of the 21st century and consider witchcraft credible -for the sake of further observation of the events- ,the trials’ legal standing is also highly questionable. The months of accusations and unprofessional preceding events are all undermining the potential acceptance of a fair judgement. It is extremely outrageous to consider that the first victim of the events, Bridget Bishop had her case opened and closed on the same day that gave her 8 days remaining alive before she was hanged due to the charges of witchcraft. 
The central aspect of the American legal system is fair treatment of all accused people. The fair treatment reaches its peak when the role of evidence in the US judiciary is considered. Without a standing evidence that can’t be undermined, there is no real chance to arrive upon a verdict, especially if the charges are the most serious, that is, death sentence. When the Salem Trials are considered, this evidence brought up against Bridget Bishop - her clothing and her behavior- seemed to be enough for death sentence. In my view, such events are the complete contrary to what the US legal system stands for today. Justice, that is central to modern-day America, had been completely ignored during the Salem Witch Trials. 
The case of Lydia Dustin, whose charges have been dismissed but who died in prison before repaying her jail fees, leads to further deterioration of the events of the Salem Trials. People accused with false charges and finally dismissed of those charges were to be kept in prison before they paid a particular fee to the government is immensely shocking if we consider the international agreements that bound today’s prison systems around the majority of the globe. Imagine if today’s news would be about a lady, accused of false charges, who have been kept in prison for almost half a year, would pass away within her cell, because government officials would not allow her release until she paid a particular of money to the state on the basis of ‘jail fees’. Public outrage would reach an indescribable extent in my opinion. 
To conclude my newest blog entry, I believe the journey into a trial - or series of trials- that had been concluded centuries ago, was an interesting restart of my blog, and a major step away from the procedures of the 20th and 21st century trials. Religion and lack of technological and legal development or professionalism are important aspects of the Salem Trials through the comforts of our current day judiciary system. What happened in Massachusetts around 300 years ago is, I think, a reminder for all people interested in the judicial system of the 21st century; a reminder for the fact that our current state of court system is the accomplishment of a long journey. Separation of evidence from secular beliefs was crucial in modern society, since we cannot let lives of our fellow citizens depend on religious dogmas or radical conviction, because if we let that happen, no one can guarantee that our position of observer might not be shifted to the position of the accused one day.

Hopefully all of my beloved readers enjoyed the case as much as I did, and stay tuned for my upcoming entries that will cover the “Greatest Trials of History’. 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials#Overview

2017. január 26., csütörtök

An expanded viewpoint with fresh ideas and experiences

Dear Readers,

I have not been updating my blog since the end of 2014. Today, I can announce my reappearance that will be followed by monthly posts about trials. The format will not be adjusted, it will remain the same. I am going to maintain the bilingual existence of my blog “Greatest Trials of History” ; Hungarian and English language posts can be expected continuously. 

I started this blog for two specific reasons during high school. One reason was personal interest, since I have been planning on going to Law School. This plan remains the same. The second reason was that I felt that analyzing past trials in depth might serve as useful preparation for Law School. In the past few years, while I have been editing my blog, I have been preparing my university application to the United States and to the United Kingdom. In 2015, I chose Boston University’s offer. After three semesters I already possess junior standing, because I believe that if there is an opportunity to obtain my degree of Political Science (and German language specialization) early, then I must do everything in order to obtain it in 3 years instead of 4. With all this in mind, I am approaching a new application procedure, however, this process will target US Law Schools. I will graduate from Boston University in May 2018 and I will enter the halls of a currently ‘mysterious’ Law School in September. I am looking forward to finally engage in the study of law and in order to build a strong application profile, I highly believe that, by the continuation of analyzing famous trials, I will be able to build my application with refreshed mind about the world of law. As a matter of fact, I have been continuously elevating my interference with the legal world as an undergraduate, by visiting trials in the United States and Hungary and by gaining valuable internship opportunities at Hungarian legal firms. I hope, that after 3 semesters of intensive college work at Boston University, and on the brink of my senior year, I will be able to publish immensely interesting posts about trials that demonstrate  legal battles, legal thinking, and — to sum up my view about what a lawyer’s career involves— to demonstrate individual fates, lives and all that a brilliant lawyer can change by mastering the art of legal action in court. 

I am going to start working right away and I will keep my readers updated!
Let’s embark on the journey of law and justice through my blog, that has been refreshed by intensive college level experience with all the requirements of growing up alone, away from home. I hope it will be as enjoyable for you, as it will be for me!


Krisztian Janos Pivarnyik

January 26, 2017.

2014. november 12., szerda

The Nuremberg Trial- Trial of Hermann Goring

The Nuremberg Trial

Trial of Hermann Goring

first row, from left the first person: Hermann Goring)


Introduction


WWII was the most cruel armed conflict of history with the highest number of victims. Almost 60 million people died between the invasion of Poland and the surrender of Japan. There were immense number of factors contributed to the outbreak of the war; German anger about the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy and most importantly the decade- long aggressive foreign policy of Nazi Germany. Although WWII would offer a great number of debatable issues, I decided to evaluate the trial of Hermann Goring, a high ranked Nazi politician.

The Nuremberg trial was the first trial in which the charges were crimes against humanity. The Allied powers had distinct opinion about the case. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom did not want a trial, instead he voted for the execution of accused Nazis. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR voted for a quick trial. From 1944 the political leadership of the USA, following the idea of Truman, sent observers to Europe alongside with the army, in order to find evidence for the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis. Later the USA used the Nuremberg trials as a base in the Eastern part of the world in the conduction of the trials of the Japanese war criminals. (Tokyo, Nanjing)

It is intensely debated whether the Allied powers only conducted „puppet trials” Naturally in a war situation neither side can be considered completely humane, but undoubtedly the most evil decisions were discussed in the offices of the Nazis. Although many of the accused Germans were convicted with relatively moderate punishments, while the higher rank Nazis were sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal. Many of them accepted their fate but the reactions for the judgments were rather diverse. Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany, who had actively participated in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Poland and Austria, and rooting from his high rank enjoyed a good sight on the anti-Semitic „final solution” plan, reacted for the court’s decision with the following words: “ Death! Death! That means I cannot write my nice memoirs. Cccc…. What hatred!” Many of the convicted were glorifying Germany until the moment they got hanged, such as Wilhelm Keitel (German field marshal, chief of Supreme High Command of the German Armed Forces).  Others were blessing the name of Adolf Hitler, such as Julius Streicher, German journalist who was the main organizer of the anti-Semitic propaganda against Jews. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, high rank SS commander and the chief of Reich Main Security) still tried to prove his innocence on his way to the gallow. Some Nazi such as Hans Frank, Governor-General of occupied Poland, prayed for the mercy of a higher power.

In the blog entry I am going to evaluate and process the Nuremberg Trial, focusing on the trial of Hermann Goring.

The following videos were extremely helpful in my work:

You can find my previous blog entry about an Unknown Hungarian Trial at the following link:


Historical bearings


The Soviet leaders wanted to hold the trial in Berlin, the city they believed to be the capital of the fascist ideology. Finally Nuremberg was chosen, because a huge prison complex belonged to the courthouse and it basically remained intact from the bombings of the Allies. Therefore it was the best condition court in the territory of the Third Reich. Choosing Nuremberg also had a symbolic meaning, because the Nazi Party was created in the city and served as a place for plenty of important conferences.

Judges and representatives of the prosecution:

Iona Nikitchenko (Soviet judge)

Sir Geoffrey Lawrence (British judge)

Francis Biddle (US judge)

Henri Donnedieu de Vabres (French judge)

Sir Hartley Shawcross (British representative of the prosecution)

Robert H. Jackson (US representative of the prosecution)

Roman Andreyevich Rudenko (Soviet representative of the prosecution)

Auguste Champetier de Ribes (French representative of the prosecution)

The majority of the defensive lawyers consisted of Germans. (Georg Fröschmann, Otto Kranzbühler)

Robert H Jackson

Chronology of the Trial:
  • 1    November 20th 1945: Opening of trial
  • 2    November 21th 1945: Robert H Jackson, US representative of the prosecution, gives hour-long speech to the audience.
  • 3    November 29th, 1945: Discussion about the concentration camps.
  • 4    December 12th, 1946: The movie called „Nazi Plan” is screened. Evidence for Nazi Germany’s long term plans for war.
  • 5    March 13-22, 1946: Interrogation of Hermann Goring
  • 6    July 4th 1946: The defense retires.
  • 7  July 26 1946: The prosecution retires.
  • 8    September 1, 1946: The court retires.
  • 9    September 30- October 1, 1946: Announcement of the court’s decisions.


The trial:



The trial opened at Nuremberg Palace of Justice on November 19th, 1945. 21 people were charged. The charge was made up of 4 points:

  • 1    Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace
  • 2    planning and initiating wars of aggression
  • 3    war crimes
  • 4   crimes against humanity


These were the potential outcomes of the trial from the viewpoint of an accused Nazi: he was either sentenced or excused.

Hermann Goring was found guilty in all of points of charges. Five other people were found guilty in all four points.

Plenty of people present at the trial noted that Goring basically became the leader of the convicted Nazis and behaved so confidently that it seemed that like he believed that he is in an equal position with the representatives of the Allied powers. Despite his belief, the only reason that he was still alive was the decision of the USA. The representatives of the country reasoned alongside of a reputable trial that would grant an opportunity of a fair, legal judgment imposed on the Nazis.

On the 29th of November Robert Jackson gave a speech before the documentation about the concentration camps was shown to the audience. He noted that all the Nazi leaders present knew about the existence and role of the camps but they did not do anything against their operation, but instead they continued intimidating the Jews. Before the film was showed, the Nazi leaders were chattering around in a good mood as they would not even comprehend the severity of the situation. After the final pictures about the Dachau concentration camp faded into darkness, the air froze on the bench of the accused. They gazed in front of themselves and they seemed to finally realize that they were they were part of a lethal death machine for decades and the consequence of their decisions may be extremely serious.

In March 1946, the interrogation of Goring began. We know from the descriptions that he was still confident. Robert H Jackson tried to make him testify with the help of the Nazi’s fanaticism, but the German was prepared and opened a debate with the American. Goring reacted to the questions of Jackson by blaming the internal and foreign politics of the USA. Tensions seriously arose in the courtroom. Goring believed that if the Nazis would have used the same tactic then the prosecution could have been destroyed with the arrogance.
At this state of the trial, the possibility of failure was highly present, because the prosecution could not receive straight-forward answers from the Nazi leaders. Many people began to believe that they should have followed Churchill’s idea: quick execution without a trial.

The British representative of the prosecution, Sir Hartley Shawcross continued the interrogation of Goring on bench of the accused. After Goring told that neither he nor Adolf Hitler knew about what happened in the concentration camps, Shawcross revealed two evidences. One was a part of a conversation between Adolf Hitler and Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy about the murdering of the Hungarian Jews in concentration camps. Hartley had evidence regarding Goring’s knowledge about the conversation.

Goring sustained his testimony about the fact that neither he nor Hitler knew about the mass murders. Moreover many people from the audience noted that Goring still fanatically believed in the dead dictator and in the Nazi ideology.

The real turning-point of the trial was the moment when the British Royal Forces announced that they caught Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp. The man gave a detailed testimony about the barbarities committed in the camp and the defense lawyers basically gave up.

Majority of the Nazi leaders testified some of the charges and they did not support the neither the Nazi ideology nor Hitler. Goring’s tactic failed.

Hjalmar Schacht, Economic Minister of the Third Reich, testified against Goring. He told that Goring was worse and more cruel than Hitler.

As the end of the trial approached, Goring’s role, as the „unofficial leader” of the accused Nazis decreased and his confidence was gone.

Out of the 21 Nazis, eleven were sentenced to death, seven were sentenced to prison and three were acquitted.


The verdict:



Hermann Göring was sentenced by the International War Tribunal to death by hanging. The man requested the change of the verdict, asking to be shot as a soldier, but his request was denied.

On October 15th, 1946 Hermann Goring committed suicide in his prison cell with a potassium cyanide capsule.

The supervision of the prisoners was intensely strengthened after one of them hanged himself in his cell. It is still debated how Goring could have received a potassium cyanide capsule. Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, the general of Waffen SS testified that he gave it to Goring, but this is not proven. In 2005, Herbert Lee Strivers, a soldier who served as a prison guard at Nuremberg during trial, announced that he gave Goring a pen that had a capsule hidden inside of it after the request of a woman called Mona. The woman told him that it was only medicine that helps Goring cure his chronic illness.


Hermann Goring’s corpse was cremated and his ashes were dispersed into Isar River.


Personal opinion:

In my opinion the trial processes an exceeding case, and for me it was the most interesting trial to work with in my blog. Undoubtedly, death sentence is a highly debated judgment nowadays and it is used by less and less countries. It is important to mention that in war situations ethics doesn’t have a big role, but its importance is unquestionable. Taking a person’s life is ethically wrong – it is basic human right- but it is justifiable. The Nazis sentenced to death in Nuremberg, including Hermann Goring, shifted their nation (and other countries) to 6 years long war that took millions of lives. Unprecedentedly, the civilian population also suffered huge losses. An eye for an eye principle is definitely not the most proper way of operation of the judicatory system and the modern society, but I think that the Nazis sentenced to death in Nuremberg suffered the consequences of their evil actions and they received a punishment that they deserved in a certifiable legal method. The case can be also comprehended as a message to the future; this is the judgment that those people deserve who violate peace and humanity.

After the trial a “new chapter opened in the history book of humanity” and the death of the Nazi leaders, such as Goring, was a completely justifiable and legitimate decision of court.

Robert H Jackson noted before the trial, that a person may only be prosecuted if he or she can be justifiably sentenced. This principle guided the representatives of the court and this fact gives the base to my opinion regarding the trial.

I hope that I was able to give an interesting and complete picture about the Nuremberg trial that symbolizes the end of the darkest era of history and terminated all those barbarism that the leaders of the Nazi Party consciously prepared and accomplished.