Misplaced Justice: the Hadamar War Crimes Trial of Irmgard Huber

Date of Graduation

Fall 1999


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Meridith Adams


As the first mass atrocity trial following World War II, The Hadamar War Crimes Trial established precedents involving jurisdiction and individual accountability which were used for the prosecution of major war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials. The Hadamar Trial, officially known as United States of America v. Alfons Klein et al., has been almost completely overlooked by American scholars when research is conducted involving the trials of World War II war criminals. The Hadamar Trial involved the prosecution of seven defendants in the deaths of 476 Polish and Russian workers during the late months of World War II. These workers were put to death on the pretext of being treated for advanced cases of tuberculosis. The chief prosecuting attorney was Colonel Leon Jaworski, who had been a member of the Judge Advocate General's Department of the U.S. Army, and who later gained fame as the Watergate Special Prosecutor. There are discrepancies between official published records and the Department of Defense case files. This paper examines these case files, which are now de-classified, re-evaluating the prosecution of one defendant in particular, Irmgard Huber. The results of this investigation indicate that Ms. Huber was unjustly convicted of crimes over which she had no control. Evidence shows that Ms. Huber did no more, or less, than the other female nurses working at this Institute, in relation to the Polish and Russian workers. While the other nurses were used as witnesses, only; Ms. Huber was tried, convicted, and sentenced to twenty-five years, hard labor. She was released in July, 1953, after her case was examined by the War Crimes Modification Board.

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© Rhonda McHale-Moore