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Dr. Hans Flaechsner Collection
Manuscript Collection No.125
OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
1.0 cubic foot in one box. 1937-1947.
Provenance: The Ohio University Libraries Department of Archives and Special Collections purchased the collection from the Jenkins Company of Austin, Texas, in April 1972. Richard K. Sarlo created the preliminary inventory in Spring 1990, and Corinna Roessler arranged and described the collection more completely in Summer 1998.
Property Rights: The Ohio University Libraries claims the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: The Ohio University Library claims the copyrights and/or literary rights as may apply to this collection. Consideration of all other copyrights and any possible literary rights is the responsibility of the researcher and publisher.
Access: The collection is open to the public under the rules and regulations of the Ohio University Libraries.
Photoduplication: The Libraries will entertain requests to photocopy reasonable amounts of material from the collection for the convenience of individual researchers.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite collection name and number, and the Ohio University Libraries in all footnotes and bibliographic references.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE COLLECTION
Dr. Hans Flaechsner was a well respected and celebrated trial lawyer from Berlin. In June of 1945, Dr. Flaechsner agreed to coordinate the defense of the Nazi Minister for Armaments and Production, Albert Speer, for the International Military Tribunal at the War Crimes Trial at Nuremberg. For Dr. Flaechsner, this would be the most important case of his career.
Albert Speer was born March 19, 1905, to a middle-class family in Mannheim, Germany. As a young man, Speer studied architecture at the Institute of Technology at Karlsruhe, and at the Institute of Technology at Berlin. Speer first came to the attention of Hitler by making the technical arrangements for a Berlin party rally in May 1933. By the outbreak of World War II, Speer was the official court architect and one of Hitler's favorites.
In February of 1942 the Nazi Minister of Armaments, Dr. Fritz Todt, was killed in an air crash. Hitler appointed Speer as Todt's replacement. Speer proved to be an able administrator who was responsible for raising wartime production to remarkable levels. It was his performance at this post which guaranteed his appearance at the Nuremberg trials where he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the use of slave labor to fill his production quotas. Speer was released from Spandau in 1966 and he died in 1981 at the age of 75.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The Flaechsner Collection on the defense of Speer at Nuremberg consists primarily of copied documents from the Office of Armaments and Production which Albert Speer headed, and exists almost entirely as excerpts from more extensive documentation. When possible, some indication of the contents of each item is presented in English.
This collection presents the documents which Dr. Flaechsner used in the preparation of Speer's defense at Nuremberg. The arrangement of the collection is indicative of the strategies used by Flaechsner to disassociate his client from the political workings of the Third Reich.
Folders #1-5 contain materials which pertain to the Nuremberg Trials in general, to the status of the International Military Tribunal, its legality and the scope of its jurisdiction, and directly to Flaechsner's defense strategy.
Folders #6-11 contain documents which refer directly to Albert Speer. This part includes his speeches, a health report as well as attitudes towards certain issues. Folder #9 explains the relations among the Nazi leaders. Folder #10 deals with Speer's testimony which began on June 20, 1946. Of key importance to Speer's defense, Flaechsner intended to discuss Speer's plan to assassinate Hitler with poison gas during the Winter of 1945. Speer, however, stated on the witness stand that he would discuss the plan out of necessity, but would not cite this information as part of his defense.
Folders #12-32 contain excerpts of testimonies of witnesses. During the course of the trial, Flaechsner presented testimony for Speer's defense from witnesses. Folders #12-32 were given titles for the name of each individual witness. Each folder contains a mixture of testimonials and other related items. The testimonials appear in alphabetical order by name. In addition to this the documents in last two folders are in chronological order.
Folders #33-43 contain documents which pertain to the economical organization of the war, the war production and armament. These are mainly copies of documents taken from the offices of various ministries. Some items consist of excerpts of sittings of the Central Planning Committee which discuss the use of forced labor in production plans. From the outset of the trial, Speer insisted on following a plan of "collective responsibility," despite the protests of Dr. Flaechsner. Some of these excerpts certainly proved damaging to Speer's defense.
Folder #44 contains documents referring to the Soviet Union.
Part I: Documents referring to laws, the Nuremberg Trials and Flaechsner's defense strategy.
Part III: Testimonies of witnesses (in alphabetical order)
Part IV: Economical organization of the war: production and armaments
Part V: Documents referring to the Soviet-Union
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