The judges in the courtroom during the Hostage Case. From left to right are Edward F. Carter, Charles F. Wennerstrum, and George J. Burke.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
United States v. Wilhelm List, et al.
The US Military Government for Germany created Military Tribunal V on June 28, 1947, to try the Hostage Case, whose 12 defendants had been indicted on 10 May.
The trial got its name from the issue it dealt with. The four counts charged the defendants with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity through: participation in the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania by troops of the German armed forces; participation in the plundering and looting of public and private property, the destruction of cities, towns, and villages, and other acts of devastation in Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania by troops of the German armed forces; participation in the initiation and drafting of secret orders denying enemy troops quarter and denying them the rights of prisoners of war (POWs), and orders commanding that surrendered troops of countries at war with Germany be executed; participation in the murder, torture, imprisonment in concentration camps, use for forced labor, and deportation for slave labor of civilians of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania by the German armed forces.
After the arraignment on July 8, 1947, the trial opened on July 15, 1947. It closed on February 9, 1948, with only ten defendants, as Franz Boehme had committed suicide between the indictment and the arraignment, and the case of Maximilian von Weichs was discontinued because his physical disability prevented him from standing trial. On February 19 the Tribunal returned its judgment, finding eight of the defendants guilty of at least one count, and acquitting the other two. It returned its sentences the same day, sending two of the guilty defendants to prison for life, and the other six to prison terms ranging from seven to twenty years.