This paper will seek to explore whether or not Nazi war criminals tasked with manning and staffing the various concentration and death camps were in any way entitled to due process of law upon their capture and trial. This concept is debated among international Holocaust scholars and often discussed with purely apodictic arguments based upon a lack of understanding of military law. This paper will discuss in detail the rights, liberties, and treatment of Nazi war criminals after World War II in relation to the trials of concentration camp guards. It will also necessarily explore and explicate the misunderstood military legal environment in which these trials occurred as well as identify the international and domestic laws upon which these trials were based. By drawing upon primary source documents like memoranda, trial records, and other notes by officials and parties involved in trying these war criminals, this paper will argue that Nazi concentration camp guards were not entitled to due process nor could they claim any rights independently of those charitably granted them by their captors. This paper will reference the flawed conceptions of international law held by dissenting scholars and juxtapose them with the letter of the law at the time of the trials. This will serve as proof that the concentration camp guards were afforded the proper rights and will also present a cogent and strong argument that promotes understanding of a complex military legal system while simultaneously refuting and quantifying the rights of the concentration camp guards in question.
Recommended CitationTrudeau, Jarrid, "Justice for War Criminals: The Trials of Nazi Concentration Camp Guards at Dachau" (2013). Honors Projects in History and Social Sciences. Paper 20.