The prosecution delivered evidence against the defendants in summary form, emphasizing instead the overall criminality of the Nazi regime. The defendants generally claimed ignorance of a larger plan and distanced themselves from the chain of command. Most admitted to the crimes of which they were accused, but claimed they were following orders. Defendants who were directly involved in killing received the death sentences: Bormann (in absentia); Hans Frank, leader of occupied Poland; Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior; Göring; Alfred Jodl, Army chief; Ernst Kaltenbrunner, SS commander; Wilhelm Keitel, head of Armed Forces High Command; Erich Raeder, former commander of the Navy; Joachim von Ribbentrop, minister of foreign affairs; Alfred Rosenberg, protector of the Eastern Occupied Territories; Fritz Sauckel, plenipotentiary of the Nazi forced labor program; Arthur Seyss-Inquart, leader of occupied Holland; and Julius Streicher, the anti-Semitic newspaper editor.
Nazis who played key roles in the Holocaust, including high-level government officials and business executives who used concentration camp inmates as forced laborers, received prison sentences or acquittal. Karl Dönitz, head of the Navy was sentenced to ten years; Walter Funk, minister of economics and Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy were sentenced to life in prison; Konstantin von Neurath, protector of Bohemia and Moravia got 15 years; Baldur von Schirach, head of the Hitler Youth and Albert Speer, architect of the Third Reich and minister of armaments, were both sentenced to 20 years. Radio commentator Hans Fritzsch, former German Chancellor Franz von Papen, and former Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht were acquitted.