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Why Nuremberg is the city of human rights

Five facts you should know about Nuremberg and its historical legacy.

Katja Auer, 06.12.2018
The Way of Human Rights in Nuremberg
The Way of Human Rights in Nuremberg © dpa

Why Nuremberg?

It is precisely because the National Socialists chose Nuremberg as the city in which to hold their party conventions, known as the Nuremberg Rallies, because the racial laws that discriminated against Jews were passed there, and because Nuremberg is a “place of perpetrators” as its Mayor Ulrich Maly put it, that the city engages with its past to a greater extent than others do.

The Nuremberg Trials

At the Nuremberg Trials in 1945, the global public sat in judgement over war criminals for the very first time. Nuremberg came to epitomise international criminal law. The “Memorium Nuremberg Trials” provides information about the trials and their legacy, which led to the International Criminal Court being established in The Hague.

The International Nuremberg Principles Academy

In setting out the Nuremberg Principles in 1950, the international community of nations first expressed its desire to end impunity for crimes under international law. The International Nuremberg Principles Academy (IANP) has set itself the task of preserving this legacy, for example by hosting academic conferences and further training for judges and public prosecutors from all over the world. Its goal is to promote the acceptance of international criminal law.

The Human Rights Office

The job of the Human Rights Office is to bring human rights work into civil society. Every two years since 1995 it has conferred the International Human Rights Award, which in 2017 went to the Caesar Group. This is the pseudonym used by a Syrian military photographer who took photos of mistreatment and abuse in Syrian prisons and smuggled them out of the country. The Human Rights Office also operates internally, training municipal employees and organising continuing education.

The Way of Human Rights

Human rights are quite literally visible to all in the “Way of Human Rights” in front of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. The individual articles are engraved on 27 white pillars in German, as well as in one other language in each case. The Israeli artist Dani Karavan created the artwork in 1993, since which time it has become a reminder – set in stone – to protect human rights.


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