Justice At Dachau
The Trials Of An American Prosecutor
Joshua M. Greene

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© Copyright 2003, Joshua M. Greene. All Rights Reserved


William Denson at West Point, January 1945, just prior to his assignment to the Judge Advocate’s War Crimes Division in Germany. “He had more legal thoughts per minute than anybody I’d ever met,” said Marion Smoak, fellow law instructor at West Point and later Chief of Protocol to President Nixon. (Photo: Denson archive) 

Entrance to the Dachau courthouse. (Photo: courtesy U.S. National Archives)

The eight-man tribunal on opening day of the first Dachau trial sits below the American flag at the far end of the 200-foot long courtroom. Defendants are seated on stadium-style chairs at the right side. (Photo: courtesy U.S. National Archives)

Crowds on the first day of the Dachau trial dispersed once the proceedings settled into a dull routine. (Photo: courtesy U.S. National Archives)

Forty accused fill the defendants' dock in the first Dachau trial, November 13, 1945.
(Photo: Denson archive)

Chief counsel Douglas T. Bates II led the defense team in the first Dachau trial. Bates worked as dilligently as his counterpart chief prosecutor Denson to provide the defendants a fair trial.

August Eigruber, Gauleiter (provincial governor) of Upper Austria and confidant of Hitler. Eigruber was found guilty in the Mauthausen trial. His final words before being hanged were "Heil Hitler." (Photo: Denson archive)

Ilse Koch, infamous "Bitch of Buchenwald," was found guilty of abuses against prisoners and sentenced to life imprisonment. She escaped the hangman by getting herself pregnant while awaiting trial at Dachau. (Photo: courtesy U.S. National Archives)

Former prisoner Dr. Kurt Sitte identifies the shrunken head of a Buchenwald victim, evidence entered along with tattooed skins and other items attesting to Ilse Koch's sadistic interests. (Photo: courtesy U.S. National Archives)

Reduction by an army review committee of Ilse Koch's sentence to four years made headlines and was carried by every newspaper in the country. Denson carried out an aggressive campaign against the commutation of sentence, which led to a Senate subcommittee investigation. (Stars and Stripes photo from December 13, 1948)

By 1950, Denson had put the war crimes trials behind him and gone back to solving more modest problems. (Photo: Denson archive)

Huschi and Bill Denson in 1990 after forty years of marriage, when he decided the time had come to resurrect the story of what transpired in the Dachau trials. (Photo: Denson archive)

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