Thursday April 24th, 2014
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In Memoriam: Nuremberg Prosecutor Whitney R. Harris
Published Friday, April 30th, 2010 by in Robert H. Jackson Center
Whitney R. Harris (1912 – 2010)

On April 21, Whitney Robson Harris, former Nuremberg Prosecutor and Friend of the Jackson Center died at age 97.

Whitney Harris was the last surviving prosecutor who appeared before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg during the trial Nazi war criminals. At Nuremberg during 1945 and 1946, then Lieutenant-Commander Harris (United States Navy), serving as U.S. Trial Counsel, was primarily responsible for the prosecutions of defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner, former Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA, or Reich Main Security Office), and defendant organizations the RSHA, the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, or Security Service).

Whitney Harris also was a principal, trusted aide to U.S. chief prosecutor Justice Robert H. Jackson and assisted him throughout the trial, including during his cross-examination of defendant Hermann Goering.

Whitney Harris was a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. Harris continued to promote international human rights in lectures and at symposia well into his 90's. He was the author of “Tyranny on Trial: The Trial of Major German War Criminals at the End of World War II at Nuremberg Germany.”

Mr. Harris was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work at the Nuremberg trials. He stayed on in Germany to serve as Chief of Legal Advice during the Berlin Blockade. Upon completion of his military service, Mr. Harris joined the Southern Methodist University Law School faculty.

In addition to teaching law, he was director of the Hoover Commission's Legal Services Task Force; served as the first executive director of the American Bar Association; and was Solicitor General of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in St. Louis where he practiced law until his retirement. In 1998, Mr. Harris was a delegate to the United Nations-sponsored Rome conference that resulted in the treaty that created the International Criminal Court.

In December 2001, Washington University renamed its Institute for Global Legal Studies in his honor. The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute functions as a center for instruction and research in international and comparative law, expanding knowledge and understanding of real-world issues and preparing lawyers for the professional challenges of the 21st century. To achieve these aims the Harris Institute draws on a vast pool of overseas and national expertise to promote continuous dialogue and exchange of views among students and faculty of Washington University with colleagues around the country and the world.

Over the last ten years, Whitney Harris has been a friend and supporter of the Robert H. Jackson Center. He has participated in a number of events and most recently was a panelist at the 2008 International Law Dialogs held at Chautauqua Institution.

Harris is survived by his wife Anna, by devoted family members, and by many friends and admirers.

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