Archivist Christopher M. Laico shares the significance of the Telford Taylor Papers as the collection relates to International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
DATELINE: Washington, DC, 9 May 1949. In a statement to the International News Service, U.S. Brig. Gen. Telford Taylor announced the official end of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. Taylor declared: “I venture to predict that as time goes on we will hear more about Nuremberg rather than less, and that in a very real sense the conclusion of the trials marks the beginning, and not the end, of Nuremberg as a force in politics, law and morals. . . . It is a precedent which will be welcomed by all who believe that peace and human dignity will find their surest guarantee in the establishment of ‘world order under the rule of law.’ ”
This Saturday, January 27th marks the internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. As we remember the victims of the Shoah , we gain solace in Telford Taylor’s fulfilled prophecy that the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials has become a force in international politics, law and morals.
Educating ourselves about the historical events associated with the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust also plays an integral role in coming to terms with its horrible memories. The Telford Taylor Papers provide one such important educational tool. In the Papers, scholars from many disciplines will find the papers a rich primary source for the International Military Tribunal (1945-46) and the Nuremberg Military Trials (1946-49). Beyond the trial transcripts, correspondence, speeches and writings will enable students and academics to trace the fifty-year development of Taylor’s nuanced conception of the Nuremberg Trials and their historical importance as he witnessed such events as the Adolf Eichmann trial and the Vietnam War.
In conclusion, the Telford Taylor Papers represent an integral part of the Columbia University Libraries archival mission – to foster the global exchange of ideas, to promote world class scholarship, and to train highly skilled human rights advocates. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, therefore, we as citizen advocates honor the victims of the Shoah by recommitting ourselves to the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials and guaranteeing the peace and human dignity of all persons through a world order established under the rule of law.