Note to Editors: Joshua Greene is available for phone interviews Friday, Feb. 17. To arrange for an interview, contact Lisa Cantrup or Hedy Berman of Hillel at (970) 491-2080.
Joshua M. Greene, author of "Justice at Dachau – The Trials of an American Prosecutor," will examine the largest but least known war-crimes trial in history at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Greene will speak at Colorado State University’s 10th annual Holocaust Awareness Week.
"Writing another book on the Holocaust period was the farthest thing from my mind," said Greene, who also co-authored "Witness: Voices From the Holocaust" in 1999. "But when Huschi Denson took me into the basement of her home and switched on the light, it was like discovering Aladdin’s cave. Bill Denson dedicated half a century of effort compiling every document, transcript, photograph and personal letter he could find to bring these trials to the world’s attention. So when Mrs. Denson asked for my help, it felt like a sacred task."
Greene recreates and tells the Dachau trials through the voice of Col. William Denson, a 32-year-old lawyer from Alabama. Denson led the largest series of Nazi trials in history even though he had only one criminal trial to his name previously.
While the world press focused on proceedings in Nuremberg that brought charges against 22 chieftains of the Nazi party – primarily men who never lifted their guns – at Dachau, 1,600 guards, officers, doctors and other war criminals stood trial for personally aiding and conducting acts of starvation, torture and extermination inside camps Dachau, Mauthausen, Flossenburg and Buchenwald.
Among those convicted at Dachau was Dr. Klaus Schilling, who was responsible for hundreds of deaths while "researching" a cure for malaria; Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen, a Harvard psychologist turned Gestapo informant; and one of history’s most notorious female war criminals, Ilse Koch, who was known for collecting tattooed human skin and human bones and using them to make lamps.
The two-year trial process took its toll on Denson. His wife passed away during the trials, and his health failed. Denson felt betrayed in 1948 when the United States secretly reversed some of the Nazi sentences to gain Germany’s support against Soviet Russia. The senate eventually reinstated the original convictions. Denson called it, "betrayal of justice at its worst." He has not set foot in a criminal court room again.
Greene’s books and documentaries have been translated and broadcast in more than 20 countries. He is an Emmy Award nominee and five-time recipient of TV Guide’s Best Programs of the Year award.
Holocaust Awareness Week events are funded by Hillel of Colorado, Associated Students of Colorado State University, Bohemian Foundation and Women at Noon. All events are free and open to the public.
For a complete list of Holocaust Awareness Week events, contact Hillel at Colorado State at (970) 491-2080 or visit http://csu.hillelcolorado.org.
Parking for evening events is available in the campus lot north of the Lory Student Center. This lot may be accessed by turning south off Laurel Street onto Meldrum Avenue. Due to construction, the Lory Student Center must be accessed by walking through the north entrance of the Engineering Building. Signs will direct people to Holocaust Awareness Week events.