surrounded himself with a small clique of fanatical, ruthless
henchmen - a violent group of outsiders who rose to power in the Third
established political and economic institutions of legitimized terror.
These masterminds of death were found to be quite psychologically normal.
They were men of fine standing, husbands who morning and night kissed
their wives, fathers who tucked their children into bed.
But murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other
inhuman acts were an everyday occurrence ...
Adolf Hitler's SS men wore black uniforms with a skeleton's head on
their hats, the motto Unsere Ehre heisst Treue on their belts and
their symbol was the double S-rune. They had sworn eternal faith to Hitler
and they were his most ruthless henchmen, men often seen as the very
personifications of evil.
After the defeat of the Nazi Empire, the apprehended henchmen and
collaborators were brought to trial in Nuremberg. Voluminous evidence was
presented to prove the plotting of aggressive warfare, the extermination
of civilian populations, especially the Jews, the widespread use of slave
labor, the looting of occupied countries, and the maltreatment and murder
of prisoners of war.
The trial lasted 11 months. Of the 21 defendants in custody, a total of 11
were sentenced to death, three were acquitted and the rest received prison
Nazi leaders were hanged in November 1946 - Hermann Goering, the one-time Number
Two man in the Nazi hierarchy, cheated the gallows of Allied justice by
committing suicide in his prison cell shortly before the ten other
condemned Nazis were hanged. He swallowed cyanide he had concealed
in a copper cartridge shell, while lying on a cot in his cell.