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From the book EAST WEST STREET by Philippe Sands, copyright 2016

by Philippe Sands. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The


Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Prologue

AnInvitation
Tuesday,October1,1946,
NurembergsPalaceofJustice

littleafterthreeoclockintheafternoon,thewoodendoorbehind

thedefendantsdockslidopenandHansFrankenteredcourtroom
600.Heworeagraysuit,ashadethatwasoffsetbythewhitehelmets
wornbythetwosomberfacedmilitaryguards,hisescorts.The
hearingshadtakenatollonthemanwhohadbeenAdolfHitlers
personallawyerandthenpersonalrepresentativeinGermanoccupied
Poland,withhispinkcheeks,sharplittlenose,andsleekedbackhair.
Frankwasnolongertheslenderandswankministercelebratedbyhis
friendRichardStrauss.Indeed,hewasinaconsiderablestateof
perturbation,somuchsothatasheenteredtheroom,heturnedand
facedthewrongdirection,showinghisbacktothejudges.
Sittinginthepackedcourtroomthatdaywastheprofessorof
internationallawatCambridgeUniversity.Baldingandbespectacled,
HerschLauterpachtperchedattheendofalongwoodentable,roundas
anowl,flankedbydistinguishedcolleaguesontheBritishprosecution
team.SeatednomorethanafewfeetfromFrank,inatrademarkblack
suit,Lauterpachtwastheonewhocameupwiththeideaofputtingthe
termcrimesagainsthumanityintotheNurembergstatute,three
wordstodescribethemurderoffourmillionJewsandPolesonthe
territoryofPoland.Lauterpachtwouldcometoberecognizedasthe
finestinternationallegalmindofthetwentiethcenturyandafatherof

themodernhumanrightsmovement,yethisinterestinFrankwasnot
justprofessional.Forfiveyears,Frankhadbeengovernorofaterritory
thatincludedthecityofLemberg,whereLauterpachthadalarge
family,includinghisparents,abrotherandsister,theirchildren.When
thetrialhadopenedayearearlier,theirfateinthekingdomofHans
Frankwasunknown.
Anothermanwithaninterestinthetrialwasnottherethatday.
RafaelLemkinlistenedtothejudgmentonawireless,fromabedinan
AmericanmilitaryhospitalinParis.Apublicprosecutorandthena
lawyerinWarsaw,hefledPolandin1939,whenthewarbrokeout,and
eventuallyreachedAmerica.ThereheworkedwiththetrialsAmerican
prosecutionteam,alongsidetheBritish.Onthatlongjourney,he
carriedanumberofvalises,eachcrammedwithdocuments,among
themmanydecreessignedbyFrank.Instudyingthesematerials,
Lemkinfoundapatternofbehavior,towhichhegavealabel,to
describethecrimewithwhichFrankcouldbecharged.Hecalledit
genocide.UnlikeLauterpacht,withhisfocusoncrimesagainst
humanity,whichaimedattheprotectionofindividuals,hewasmore
concernedwiththeprotectionofgroups.Hehadworkedtirelesslyto
getthecrimeofgenocideintoFrankstrial,butonthislastdayofthe
trialhewastoounwelltoattend.Hetoohadapersonalinterestin
Frank:hehadspentyearsinLww,andhisparentsandbrotherwere
caughtupinthecrimessaidtohavebeencommittedonFranks
territory.
DefendantHansFrank,thepresidentofthetribunalannounced.
FrankwasabouttolearnwhetherhewouldstillbealiveatChristmas,
inapositiontohonorthepromisehehadrecentlymadetohisseven
yearoldson,thatallwasfineandhewouldbehomefortheholiday.
Thursday,October16,2014,
NurembergsPalaceofJustice
SixtyeightyearslaterIvisitedcourtroom600inthecompanyofHans
FrankssonNiklas,whowasasmallboywhenthatpromisewasmade.
NiklasandIbeganourvisitinthedesolate,emptywingofthe
disusedprisonattherearofthePalaceofJustice,theonlyoneofthe

fourwingsthatstillstood.Wesattogetherinasmallcell,liketheone
inwhichhisfatherspentthebetterpartofayear.ThelasttimeNiklas
hadbeeninthispartofthebuildingwasinSeptember1946.Itsthe
onlyroomintheworldwhereIamalittlebitnearertomyfather,he
toldme,sittinghereandthinkingofbeinghim,foraboutayearbeing
inhere,withanopentoiletandasmalltableandasmallbedand
nothingelse.Thecellwasunforgiving,andsowasNiklasonthe
subjectofhisfathersactions.Myfatherwasalawyer;heknewwhat
hedid.
Courtroom600,stillaworkingcourtroom,wasnotgreatly
changedsincethetimeofthetrial.Backin1946,theroutefromthe
cellsrequiredeachofthetwentyonedefendantstotravelupasmall
elevatorthatleddirectlytothecourtroom,acontraptionthatNiklasand
Iwerekeentosee.Itremained,behindthedockatwhichthe
defendantssat,enteredthroughthesamewoodendoor,whichslidopen
asnoiselesslyasever.Open,shut,open,shut,wroteR.W.Cooperof
TheTimesofLondon,theformerlawntenniscorrespondentwho
reportedeachdayonthetrial.Niklasslidthedooropenandenteredthe
smallspace,thenclosedthedoorbehindhim.
Whenhecamebackout,hemadehiswaytotheplacewherehis
fathersatduringthetrial,chargedwithcrimesagainsthumanityand
genocide.Niklassatdownandleanedforwardonthewoodenrail.He
lookedatme,thenaroundtheroom,andthenhesighed.Ihadoften
wonderedaboutthelasttimehisfatherpassedthroughtheelevators
slidingdoorandmadehiswaytothedefendantsdock.Itwas
somethingtobeimaginedandnotseen,becausecameraswerenot
allowedtofilmthelastafternoonofthetrial,onTuesday,October1,
1946.Thiswasdonetoprotectthedignityofthedefendants.
Niklasinterruptedmythoughts.Hespokegentlyandfirmly.
Thisisahappyroom,forme,andfortheworld.