Campus: San Francisco State University -- April 16, 2003

Original transcripts from Nuremberg Trials donated to SFSU Jewish Studies

Donor found transcripts in attic of her childhood home in Virginia

A woman who found full original transcripts of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials while preparing to sell her childhood home recently had the texts donated to the Jewish Studies Program at San Francisco State University.

Carmel Thompson, of Arlington, Va., was surprised to find the transcripts underneath insulation in the attic of her childhood home in May 2001. Her parents had never mentioned them. Thompson donated them to the Sarlo Foundation, which then decided that the SFSU Jewish Studies Program would find them of most use.

“I am pleased that these historic transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials have a new home at San Francisco State University,” Thompson said. “I hope they prove to be beneficial for scholars in their research and that the results help the public understand the importance of this trial in establishing international legal precedent.”

The transcripts, bound in books that total more than 20 volumes and 100,000 pages, provide a comprehensive record of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, the planning and execution of World War II, and the Holocaust. The transcripts outline the trials in which Nazi leaders were brought to court for the systematic murder of millions of people in the Holocaust and planning and carrying out the war.

The Nuremberg Trials began in October 1945 after the United States, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union issued indictments against 24 members of the Nazi party. The defendants were charged with crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, through October 1946 before an International Military Tribunal composed of the Allied countries and representatives of Nazi-occupied countries.

The trials resulted in 12 death sentences, three life sentences, four sentences of 10 years or more, and three acquittals for the individual defendants. Two defendants died before the trials began.

“I am delighted that San Francisco State University students and faculty will be able to study original transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials,” said George Sarlo, president of the Sarlo Foundation. “San Francisco State’s Jewish Studies Program is the ideal home for these invaluable transcripts. They document a sad, yet important, piece of history that, if studied for generations to come, hopefully can help people gain a better understanding of our world and avoid future tragedies against humanity.”

The transcripts, which are in German, are housed in the Marvin L. Silverman Jewish Studies Reading Room on campus and available for students and other scholars to use for research, as well as the general public. Faculty might incorporate the transcripts into their classes.
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of Ms. Thompson and the Sarlo Foundation for giving the Jewish Studies Program these important transcripts,” said Jewish Studies Acting Director Marc Dollinger, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. “The transcripts will bolster the program’s collection in Judaica and help to establish the program, and San Francisco State as a whole, as vital centers of Jewish learning. They will be an indispensable resource for many lifetimes.”

“These transcripts provide a glimpse into a crucial part of the world’s history. The Nuremberg Trials established precedent in international law by bringing to justice individuals whose genocidal actions still shock the conscience of the world,” SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan said. “The transcripts will greatly further our understanding of the Holocaust and World War II — not just at San Francisco State, but across the globe. And understanding will help us keep an atrocity like the Holocaust from ever happening again.”

The Sarlo Foundation was established by venture capitalist George Sarlo and his wife Kim in 1992 as a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma counties. The foundation recognizes that most Americans were once immigrants, many who were provided life-transforming opportunities by community agencies. The foundation supports groups that focus on education, training, counseling, medical crisis intervention and other services that make a significant difference in the lives of individuals.

Founded in 1993, the Jewish Studies Program attracts a diverse group of students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds, including participants in SFSU’s elders programs and other community members. Students learn a variety of Jewish history, thought and culture from a renowned faculty that includes Associate Professor Fred Astren, who has enjoyed visiting fellowships at UC Berkeley and Oxford, and Dollinger. The Marvin L. Silverman Jewish Studies Reading Room, named after one of the program’s founding faculty, contains a special collection of more than 2,000 academic, reference and historical books on Jewish subjects. The program offers a bachelor’s degree in Modern Jewish Studies, a minor in Jewish Studies and a graduate certificate in Jewish Community Studies.

The Jewish Studies Program is also supported by the Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman Philanthropic Fund, Jewish Community Endowment Fund, Koret Foundation, Gaia Fund and individual donors.

For more information about the Jewish Studies Program, call (415) 338-6075, send e-mail to jewish@sfsu.edu, or visit: www.sfsu.edu/~jewish.

Media Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665; matti@sfsu.edu


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