Hoosier Justice at Nuremburg
by Suzanne S. Bellamy
Two judges from Indiana Serve on WWII Tribunal In the years after World War II, as the world grappled with the enormity of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi regime, two Hoosiers had a significant role in the American response to unfolding events in Germany.
Frank Richman of Columbus and Curtis Shake of Vincennes both served with distinction as members of the Indiana Supreme Court. By early 1947, both judges had stepped down from the court to begin new phases in their profession. Shake resumed his law practice in Vincennes, and Richman planned to teach law. World events intervened when both men were called to serve as civilian judges in tribunals convened in Nuremberg to try secondary Nazi war criminals. Shake and Richman sat on the bench in the trials of leading German industrialists for crimes against humanity, applying international law according to American concepts of fairness.
Despite lingering doubts about the legitimacy of American judges having jurisdiction over German nationals, Richman and Shake responded with grace, competence and high ethical standards along with a little controversy.
Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg highlights the role two leading citizens of Indiana played in events that, more than 60 years later, still resonate across the world.
Suzanne S. Bellamy is a graduate of the University of Rochester and the Boston University School of Law. She practiced law for 25 years as a corporate counsel in Indianapolis. As a freelance historical researcher and writer, she has worked on projects for the American Legion Auxiliary, the Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Historical Society.