Freed-Hardeman University presents lecture from Dachau War Crime Trials

Freed-Hardeman University presents lecture from Dachau War Crime Trials
Douglas T. Bates III will present letters from his father, who defended Nazi soldiers in the Dachau War Crimes Trials, at a special lecture at Freed-Hardeman University April 9.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Freed-Hardeman University’s History Department will host a lecture on The Dachau War Crime Trials after World War II.

Douglas T. Bates III is a middle Tennessee lawyer and son of the late Lt. Colonel Douglas T. Bates II. On April 9, Bates III will share letters and stories from his father who was assigned to be the Chief Defense Counsel for 40 Nazi soldiers in the Dachau War Crimes Trials held after World War II. His task was to mount a defense for the very soldiers he’d fought against on the battlefield. However, he considered it as much his duty as combat had been.

“This Dachau detail is the toughest, meanest, most unfortunate detail I have ever had,” Bates wrote to his wife in 1945. “It will mean I will not be home for Christmas. You must understand that I was ordered to do this over my protests, but since I am going to do it I am going to do it the best I can. Maybe other people don’t understand. Maybe I don’t understand. But it’s just the way I am.”

Bates II lost 36 out of his 40 cases. His son said the history and lesson of his father’s experience is the story of how for a brief time a young soldier from Centerville, Tennessee walked on the world’s stage during its most important trial.

The history department at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson will welcome Douglas T. Bates III Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Loyd Auditorium.

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