Stanford Libraries
Stanford, US, 14 Mar. 2023, 15:50 CEST
Stanford Libraries launches Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-46

The Taube Archive enables multimedia research with newly released audio recordings, full-text searchable documents, and films with multilingual captions and transcripts.

Nuremberg Trials. Looking down on defendants dock, circa 1945-1946. Image credit: National Archives and Records Administration. img#1
Nuremberg Trials. Looking down on defendants dock, circa 1945-1946. Image credit: National Archives and Records Administration.

Stanford Libraries launches Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-46

The Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-1946 (IMT) is now available as the result of a partnership between the Stanford Libraries and the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice. This web archive makes available to the global audience digitized versions of the original, unpublished, and complete official record of the IMT. Unique in the Taube Archive, multimedia research can be conducted on a single site combining audio recordings of the trial proceedings with courtroom documents and evidentiary films, all rendered browsable and searchable.

The technical development work by Stanford Libraries was completed on the open-source ArcLight discovery platform, which has enhanced accessibility to and broadened the context of the IMT materials. The capabilities of full-text search, faceted browsing, multilingual captions, moving image transcriptions, text extraction processing, and a scholarly apparatus for background information have expanded the ways in which users can engage with the historical record.

Funding for the project was provided by Taube Philanthropies, an organization founded in 1981 by Stanford alumnus Tad Taube to support diverse educational, research, cultural, community, and youth organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Poland, and Israel.

"Of all the grants we've made to Stanford over the years, this one to fund the creation of the digital IMT archive may be the most impactful. The horrors of the Holocaust are very personal to me but also very important to humanity," said Taube, who escaped with his immediate family from Poland in 1939, on the eve of WWII. "People everywhere must have access to study and reflect on the crimes detailed in the trial at Nuremberg so that we can recognize and prevent such atrocities in the future and hold perpetrators accountable when such crimes are committed. We cannot forget."

The Taube Archive is a featured trial archive of the Virtual Tribunals program, a collaboration between the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice and the Stanford Libraries. The initiative aims to facilitate free, comprehensive, enduring access to the records of international criminal tribunals and truth commissions around the globe for both legally trained users and lay audiences, including populations directly affected by conflict or living in relevant diaspora communities. Presently, the Virtual Tribunals program also hosts the Special Panels for Serious Crimes, East Timor with efforts underway to add archival material from World War II criminal trials held by the U.S. Army in Europe and Japan.

David Cohen, Professor of Classics and Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, said, "It is tremendously gratifying to see this new chapter of the Virtual Tribunals program come to fruition thanks to the vision, dedication, and skilled contribution of so many collaborators. The IMT trial provided the foundation for all that has followed in the development of international criminal justice institutions dedicated to providing accountability for political and military leaders responsible for genocide and other mass atrocity crimes. The Taube Archive's innovative multimedia design makes the contribution of Nuremberg meaningfully accessible to students, educators, and the general public in new and important ways."

Penelope Van Tuyl, Associate Director at the Center and Lecturer for the Human Rights Minor, added, "We are particularly excited about the prospects for integrating these historical records into our classroom teaching. Many of the undergraduates pursuing our Minor in Human Rights have a keen interest in transitional justice mechanisms like war crimes tribunals. Having this collection on the ArcLight platform is exciting because it allows us to teach our students about the substantive history of this trial through primary source materials, while helping them learn how to conduct research in a rich and dynamic digital discovery environment."

"The Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1945-46 will make possible deeper investigation, sustain serious scholarship, and promote public understanding," said Michael A. Keller, the Ida M. Green University Librarian at Stanford. "The website together with other online collections at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the Mémorial de la Shoah will foster and support substantial global viewership in general and in particular on International Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as other days designated by the United Nations for advancing human rights and social justice."

The Journey to Discoverability

The convictions and other decisions arising from the International Military Tribunal conducted at Nuremberg in 1945-46 represent the first application of the principle that individuals, including heads of state, can be held criminally accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In 1950, the Nuremberg Trial Archives were entrusted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, which arranged in 2010 to de-acidify and digitize the paper documents. More recently, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Mémorial de la Shoah provided funding and technical advice for the digitization of the film, microfilm, and gramophone disc components. Since March 2021, Stanford Libraries has been working with the Registry of the International Court of Justice to build the online environment and to serve as preservation stewards for the digital collection.

ArcLight, the platform for the Nuremberg Trial Archives, is an online discovery and delivery solution for archives and special collections that was initiated at Stanford Libraries in 2014. Contributing institutions to the design, requirements analysis, software development, and testing of ArcLight include the University of Michigan, Princeton University, Duke University, Indiana University, the National Library of Medicine, Georgia Tech, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the Rockefeller Archive Center.

"Development of ArcLight software to improve discoverability of the Nuremberg Trial Archives will ultimately make other archival collections at Stanford and beyond more accessible," said Lauren Sorensen, Digital Projects and Data Manager at Stanford Libraries. "The Taube Archive launch is a big step forward for access to information in multi-media archival collections and serves as an example for further work here at Stanford and elsewhere."

"Improvements of functions now available in the Taube Archive and others forthcoming will continue with the cooperation of the wider open-source community," said Dinah Handel, ArcLight community coordinator at Stanford Libraries. "The software with its recent enhancements is freely available on Github to other libraries and repositories around the world."