|Dates 6 Jan 1948 – 13 Apr 1949|
|Location Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany|
Similar Pohl trial, High Command Trial, Krupp Trial, Judges' Trial, Einsatzgruppen trial
The Ministries Trial (or, officially, the United States of America vs. Ernst von Weizsäcker, et al.) was the eleventh of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).
This case is also known as the Wilhelmstrasse Trial, so-named because the German Foreign Office was located at the Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin. The defendants in this case were officials of various Reich ministries, facing various charges for their roles in Nazi Germany and thus their participation in or responsibility for the numerous atrocities committed both in Germany and in occupied countries during the war.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal IV, were William C. Christianson (presiding judge) from Minnesota, Robert F. Maguire from Oregon and Leon W. Powers from Iowa. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor; the chief prosecutor was Robert Kempner. The indictment was filed on 15 November 1947; the hearings lasted from 6 January 1948 until 18 November that year, and then the judges took a whole five months to compile their 833-page judgment, which they presented on 11 April 1949. The sentences were handed down on 13 April 1949. Of all the twelve trials, this was the one that lasted longest and ended last. Of the 21 defendants arraigned, two were acquitted, the others were found guilty on at least one count of the indictment and received prison sentences ranging from three years including time served to 25 years' imprisonment.
^1 Stuckart was tried again in 1950 before a denazification court and sentenced as a Mitläufer (follower) a fine of DM 50,000.
Herbert Backe, the former minister for agriculture who should also have been tried, committed suicide on 6 April 1947 while in custody awaiting the trial.