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William Christianson, Nuremberg Judge, Dies

June 01, 1985|From Times Wire Services

RED WING, Minn. — William C. Christianson, a judge at the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II, is dead at the age of 92.

Christianson, a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, died here Monday.

In 1947 Christianson was named by Gen. Lucius Clay, U.S. Army commander in Europe, to be one of three judges to serve on the military tribunal that tried and convicted German industrialist Friedrich Flick.

Flick and his associates controlled the largest private steel manufacturing business in Germany during World War II.

Christianson next served as chief judge at the trials of 21 of Adolf Hitler's cabinet ministers, including SS Gen. Gottlief Berger; Walter Schellenberg, the SS's chief of foreign intelligence, and Ernst von Weizsaecker, state secretary.

Those trials lasted until the spring of 1949. Most of the defendants were convicted.

On returning from Germany, Christianson said that the trials "established the precedent of individual responsibility for international crime. The evidence was so well documented that it will be used as a pattern in the future."

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