Nuremberg Trials exhibit opens at Coe featuring Silliman and Shirer papers

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-02-02 11:46:15 - General

Coe College will open the exhibit "Nuremberg Trials: Coe's Connection" on Thursday, Feb. 16 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Cone Gallery in Stewart Memorial Library. Featuring the papers of Coe alumni B.D. Silliman and William L. Shirer, brief remarks will be given by Coe senior Nina Wilson at 5:15 p.m. to provide background information about the exhibit.

The exhibit will run from Feb. 16 to March 16, open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

In addition, Coe alumnus Alan M. Anderson will present a lecture entitled "Coe at the Nuremberg Trials: B.D. Silliman." The presentation will be held on Monday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library. An attorney and military historian, Anderson will discuss the trials in the context of Silliman's preparations and role at Nuremberg. In addition to Silliman, Anderson will also discuss several other people from Cedar Rapids who were involved in the trials. All events are free and open to the public.

After World War II, the Nuremberg Trials were held by the Allied forces to prosecute prominent political and military leaders of Nazi Germany for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those who participated in the Holocaust.

Silliman, a 1917 Coe graduate, served in both World War I and II, and was involved in the Nuremberg Trials serving on the staff of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. He was responsible for the capture, transfer and interrogation of many of the key German officers who were put on trial. After the trials, Silliman returned to Cedar Rapids and served as a longtime trustee at Coe College.

Shirer, who graduated from the college in 1925, was a journalist and writer, and one of the last western journalists to leave Nazi Germany in 1940. He is known for his broadcasts from Berlin during the 1930s and for his many books including the "Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941" and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for which he won the National Book Award (1961). After the war, Shirer returned to Europe to cover the Nuremberg Trials. He continued working as a journalist and author throughout his life.

"Coe College is extremely fortunate to house the papers of a journalist who is still held in high esteem by journalists today," said Director of Library Services Jill Jack. "The William L. Shirer papers bring to Coe scholars from around the country as well as outside of the United States. To have these two collections and two alumni who were both involved in the trials is something special for the college, students and researchers."

The documents in the collection include diary notes, interrogations from the Nuremberg Trials, prisoner information, photographs, and trial notes made by Silliman and Shirer.

For more information on the exhibit, call 319-399-8023.