Justice at Dachau: The Trials of an American Prosecutor
NOTE: This course has been approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for mandatory “On-demand” CLE Credit. Members are only permitted to earn up to 6 credit hours per year from “On-demand” programs.
CLE CREDIT: This course has been approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for 2 on demand hours of mandatory CLE credit, including 0 hours of ethics.
NOTE: This program is not approved for Texas credit. The Texas Bar will not permit members to submit online programs for Texas credit.
CHECKPOINTS: This program will contain random checkpoints. In order to submit credit for this program, you must confirm your presence at the checkpoints. If you do not meet the checkpoint requirement you may not receive credit for the live program. The checkpoint submission is entirely dependent on your successful completion of the system check.
NOTE: At the end of the program click on the “Credit Submission Tab” to go to your credit profile and begin the credit submission process. Please remember to submit credit on the day of the event.
TUITION: Registration for the live webcast is $125.00. Seniors may register for $50.00 and members licensed 2 years or less may register for $75.00.
This acclaimed CLE program has been presented nationwide for the past ten years. The speaker, Joshua M. Greene (Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University), is the bestselling author of several books on Holocaust history and war crimes law. His background as an Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker informs the video portions of the program.
“Justice at Dachau” is a talk and power point that will explore a critical event in the post-Holocaust period: the largest yet least known war crimes trials in history. The story is told through the eyes of Col. William Denson, chief prosecutor, a Southern lawyer and officer determined to achieve righteous judgments against Nazi murderers but unprepared for the procedural and psychic obstacles he would encounter during more than two years of exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust.
The trials were all but ignored by the world press, which focused on Nuremberg sixty-five miles north. While Nuremberg tried 22 policymakers, Nazi chieftains who never lifted their guns, at Dachau 1,600 guards, officers, doctors, kapos, and other executors of Hitler’s Final Solution stood trial for personally aiding and conducting acts of starvation, torture, and extermination inside camps Dachau, Mauthausen, Flossenburg and Buchenwald.
Denson led his team through masterful prosecutions, basing his strategies on recognized conventions of international law. Yet in 1948, when America’s priorities shifted from punishing Nazis to winning Germany’s support against Soviet Russia, Denson’s convictions were overturned in clandestine reversals of sentence. The scandal of those reversals erupted in headlines nationwide and led to a Senate subcommittee hearing that exonerated Denson and condemned the commutations. But the subcommittee’s determinations came too late to salvage the harm done to Denson’s reputation. Devastated by what he called “betrayal of justice at its worst,” Denson quit the Army and never set foot in a criminal courtroom again.
Today, more than a half-century later, special investigators working in the field of international law recognize Denson as a pioneer of universal human rights. The precedents he established inform trials underway in The Hague and other parts of the world. In the last months before his death in 1998 he was at last acknowledged for his achievements and awarded a Presidential citation.