The Pohl Trial (or WVHA Trial, or, officially, The United States of America vs. Oswald Pohl, et al.)
The Pohl Trial (or WVHA Trial, or, officially, The United States of America vs.
Oswald Pohl, et al.) was the fourth 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).
In this case, Oswald Pohl and 17 other SS officers employed by the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (WVHA), the Economics and Administrative Department of the SS, were tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the time of the Nazi regime. The main charge against them was their active involvement in and administration of the "Final Solution". The WVHA was the government office that ran the concentration and extermination camps. It also handled the procurement for the Waffen SS and, as of 1942, the administration of the SS-Totenkopfverbände.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal II, were Robert M. Toms (presiding judge) from Detroit, Michigan, Fitzroy Donald Phillips from North Carolina, Michael A. Musmanno from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and John J. Speight from Alabama as an alternate judge. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor; James M. McHaney and Jack W. Robbins were the principal prosecutors. The indictment was presented on January 13, 1947; the trial began on April 8, and sentences were handed down on November 3, 1947. Four persons, including Oswald Pohl, were sentenced to death by hanging, three were acquitted. The others received sentences of imprisonment between 10 years and lifetime.
At the request of the judges, the court reconvened on July 14, 1948 to consider additional material presented by the defense. On August 11, 1948, the tribunal issued its final sentences, confirming most of its earlier sentences, but slightly reducing some of the prison sentences and changing the death sentence of Georg Lörner into a sentence of life imprisonment.
The indictment contained four counts: participation in a common design or conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity; war crimes against civilians of German occupied territories and POWs in concentration camps (which the WVHA took control of in the spring of 1942); crimes against humanity against German civilians and nationals of other countries; and membership in the SS, recently declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal.