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High objects of State (letters patent from Queen Victoria, each w/ Great Seal):
Author of Balfour Declaration - 1898 diplomatic credentials, for talks with Germany
|
Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873 

The (Swedish General) Viktor Balck Olympic Games- Founding Archive
Swedish gold and bronze medals honoring Viktor Balck | Viktor Balck 1912 Stockholm Olympics book Tower and Sword collar of Viktor Balck

Civil War Gillmore Medal to Jewish officer who helped 1863 "Glory" charge toward Ft. Wagner 1863                                                                        
Statesmen |Koerber - 1920s friend, then foe of Hitler |The Viktor von Koerber WWI Aviation Archive|
Presentation keys, gold medal to major U.K. statesman  Award Documents to important 19th century European diplomats

The JFK and staffers convention badges etc. ArchiveI.D. Badges to JFK and Secretary Ev Lincoln Mass. Labor Federation badge (major speech)  1960 Democratic Nomination campaign: aide Bob Troutman

Heroines | "Girl who defied Hitler" at 1936 Olympics: biography  Inge Sorensen Archive: items                 First ever (gold NYC) Women's Club Medal of Honor
  Award Diplomas to great Jewess opera singer
The Poignant Mayer family Jewish Heroism for (in WWI) and Flight from (pre-WWII) Germany Archive 
Presentation trowel etc. to president of "philanthropic" society for troubled girls

Concepts | News |
Historical commentary

Patent leather presentation box, (220 x 268 mm.)  with  24  photos of the Reichstag fire trial, participants, etc., gilt-embossed: 
"D.N. Pritt 
              for
                his 70th birthday
(from the)   Union of Democratic Jurists
                             of Germany
"

Film about The Reichstag Fire Trial (not included in Pritt Archive; described here for historical information purposes only)

(from http://www.filmandsound.ac.uk/collections/records/0002-0000-0021-0000-0-0000-0000-0.html; subscription required)

Description: Bulgarian account of the Reichstag Fire Trial with a focus on the trial of Dimitrov.
Duration: 37 mins 10 secs
Year: 1971
Subjects: Political conflicts, Dictatorship, Germany, Communism, Resistance to oppression, Political prisoners, Nazism, Legal procedure, Guerilla activities
Segment 1: Cyrillic script credits. Archive footage of Reichstag in flames [poor quality]. Shots of Reichstag the next morning, lying in ruins. Goering arrives on the scene. Goebbels announces it is an attack carried out by the Communists. Goering gives speech promoting the killing of Communists [soft footage]. Hitler speaks at a rally announcing that he will deliver the German people from the Communist threat. Shots of Nazi newspapers. Other Communists are arrested. Photographs of the accused. Commentary reads from official documents from the trial. Hitler walks through rally of his supporters. The Nazis declare a state of emergency and the introduction of new Police state in Germany. German Communist Ernst Thaelmann making speech [no sound], images of hammer and sickle flag. Headlines from left-wing German newspapers. Nazi parade, Hitler speaking, 'Burning of the Books'. Nazi crimes against Communists. SA and SS institute an auxiliary police force. Still Dimitrov. His letters to family and commrades.
Segment 2: Henri Barbusse giving speech, campaigning for Dimitrov. London, a counter trial takes place in support of the Communists. Dennis Pritt, the British barrister who presided over this mock trial, sums up the Reichstag Fire Trial. In Leipzig, the investigations last for six months and the trials then begin. Shots of the German Imperial Court. Shots of the official trial documents. Film taken during the trial, Dimitrov, Marinus van der Lubbe and others accused seen in defence. Dimitrov giving evidence. Commentary taken from contemporary radio reports. Newspaper articles about the case. Interrogation of Communist witnesses. Stills of witnesses. Shots of Nazi soldiers. False claims against the communists by the Nazis. Documents written by Dimitrov are shown.
Segment 3: Stills, court in session. Radio broadcast of an exchange between Dimitrov and Herman Goering is heard on soundtrack. The artist, John Heartfield [German sync] shows his photo montages of the case. Mr Benton, a London barrister who attended the trial as an observer, describes the verbal combat between Dimitrov and Goering. The trial continues with Dimitrov still challenging Goering. stills from the trail and demonstrations around Europe. Documents calling for Dimitrov to be detained and shots of the prison in which he was kept.
Segment 4: Rallies supporting Dimitrov take place across Europe and the world. Shots of marches, rallies speeches and protests. 27 February 1934. Dimitrov is released and then arrives in Moscow to a hero's welcome. Dimitrov works to support Ernst Thaelmann who was still in the hands of the Gestapo. Soviet and international Communist leaders declare Dimitrov a hero and rally to his support, including Harry Pollitt and Henri Barbusse in attendance. Sequence showing Nazi atrocities, including scenes of bombing, killing and military attacks. Credits.

From  
International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights, by Arthur Jay Klinghofer and Judith Apter Klinghofer, and another similar book;
  from  
http://www.du.edu/korbel/hrhw/volumes/2005/leebaw-2005.pdf

Citizens' Tribunals

In April of 1937, the pragmatist philosopher, John Dewey boarded a train to Mexico City. There, in Frida Kahlo's famous Blue House, the seventy-eight year old philosopher would spend the next several days interviewing the exiled Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, in a series of hearings designed to investigate Trotsky's response to the Moscow show trials. Trotsky had been accused of conspiring with Germany and Japan to foment a terrorist campaign within the Soviet Union. In a trial that would inaugurate what is known as the Great Purge, fifteen defendants publicly confessed to their involvement in the alleged plot and were immediately executed. Trotsky was not actually charged in absentia, but presented as the mastermind of their activities and he hoped that an international commission of inquiry could investigate the Moscow Trial and clear his name. In International Citizens' Tribunals, the Klinghofers quote Trotsky's plea for a parallel investigation, "With what conviction can the democratic countries develop a common front with Soviet Russia against reaction," he asked, "if she descends to the methods of barbarism of the Fascist world?" (56).

The Joint Commission of Inquiry, better known as the Dewey Commission, that formed in response to Trotsky's request, was inspired by an earlier "countertrial" that had investigated the 1933 Reichstag fire. The Nazis had proclaimed that the February Reichstag fire was part of a Communist plot and used it as a pretext for suspending civil liberties, rounding up Communists, and, after winning the March elections, giving Hitler's government the absolute power to make laws. Although a young Dutchman named Martinus van der Lubbe took credit for the fire and insisted that he had acted alone, four Communists, a German and three Bulgarians, were accused of participating in the newly defined crime of "revolutionary arson." A countertrial was organized by the Comintern, which hoped to establish that the Nazis had set the fire themselves as a pretext to seize power. The countertrial took place in London a week prior to the actual trial in Leipzig.


Although both trials were initiated with the goal of legitimating ideological positions, the Klinghofers maintain that the real impact of the countertrial had to do with a commitment to procedure and impartiality on the part of its major backers. Despite the origins of the informal Commission of Inquiry, none of its members were Communist and all were lawyers (Klinghofer and Klinghofer: 23). The chair of the Commission, Denis Nowell Pritt, responded harshly to evidence of prior bias on the part of the other commissioners, and emphasized that "evidence should precede a decision" (Klinghofer and Klinghofer: 24). In reaching their conclusions, the commissioners did not invoke the major political pamphlets circulating at the time, the "Brown Book" and the "Oberfohren memorandum," which aimed to establish the fire as a Nazi plot. The conclusions, based entirely on evidence presented before the commission, were "more temperate than polemical" in suggesting that the Nazis had started the fire. The focus on establishing facts through the presentation of evidence contributed to a positive response to the countertrial on the part of the foreign media. As a result, they argue, the Nazis were "placed on the defensive in their own court ... so the emphasis was more on exonerating themselves than convicting the Communists" (Klinghofer and Klinghofer: 31). The Nazi court opted against in camera hearings and opened the courtroom to the foreign press. They did not interfere with the defense's right to present its own witnesses and they analyzed evidence that had been addressed in the countertrial.

It was their sensitivity to world opinion that compelled the judges overseeing the Reichstag fire trial to acquit the four defendants at a time when the Nazi regime was consolidating power and abandoning any semblance of rule of law (Klinghofer and Klinghofer: 35). It was the dispassionate analysis of the legal team running the informal Commission, they argue further, which persuaded the foreign press to take their conclusions seriously at a time when many leaders around the world remained skeptical about the validity of an unofficial ex parte proceeding. Arthur Garfield Hays, an American Jew who served as a kind of mediator between the countertrial and the Leipzig trial, exemplifies for the Klinghofers, the power of a commitment to impartial procedure as against the manipulation of law for political ends. Hays distanced himself from the other foreign lawyers attending the Leipzig trial, "preferring tact to confrontation." At a time when many Jewish intellectuals were fleeing Germany, Hays wrote to the Leipzig court just before they issued their verdict: "If these men are acquitted, the world will realize that at least one court in Germany is objective and independent and that even in the midst of terror instituted by the Nazis, you judges have shown the courage of your convictions" (Klinghofer and Klinghofer: 41)....



Film about Life of Dimitrov (not included in Pritt Archive; described here for historical information purposes only)

Description: Film biography of Georgi Dimitrov and the coming of the Communists to power in Bulgaria.
Duration: 62 mins 30 secs
Year: 1960
Subjects: Bulgaria, Political leadership, Political history, Revolutionary movements, Communism, Resistance to oppression, Political prisoners, Nazism, Marxism, Heads of state
Segment 1: Bulgaria. Description of Dimitrov's early family life. Photographs of family members. At 12, Dimitrov begins work in a printing shop and begins reading socialist writing. He decides at a young age to fight for the cause of the working class. Photograph of a young Dimitrov as member of the Organised Printer Workers. He studies Engels and Marx. When he is 18 he becomes the leader of the organisation. In 1902 he becomes a member of the Bulgarian Workers Social Democratic Party and declares that the working class can win emancipation by revolution. Photographs of Dimitrov as his status rises. 1905 reconstructed and feature footage of attempted Revolution in Russia. Dimitrov leads strike in mining factory. The strike movement spreads across Bulgaria. A regional letter reporting on the strike from his wife, Luba, a poet and tailor. Description of Luba's support of Dimitrov. Dimitrov rises through the ranks until he becomes a Member of Parliament in 1912. Dimitrov's imprisonment and copies of letters and telegrams sent to government offices by Dimitrov's supporters. Dimitrov's activities outside of Bulgaria. Archive footage of World War One. Dimitrov declares a socialist war on war and campaigns for peace. October 1917: Lenin speaking, protest in Russia, scenes representing the Revolution. World War I; Bulgarian soldiers leave the front. Battle scenes: massacre of Bulgarian soldiers by German soldiers and military cadets of King Ferdinand. Dimitrov and others lead strikes on a massive scale with the involvement of the Bulgarian proletariat. The Socialists change their name to the Bulgarian Communist Party and together with the Bolsheviks becomes member of the Third Communist International.
Segment 2: 1921. Dimitrov visits Moscow as a delegate to the third Conference. Lenin. Dimitrov presents Lenin with a Bulgarian-French dictionary. Archive footage and photographs of Lenin's funeral where Dimitrov was one of the first mourners. In Bulgaria, the Communist party comes under attack. Dimitrov resolutely follows a united front between workers and peasants in allegiance to the new party line. September 1923, Dimitrov and others form the military committee of the first anti fascist rebellion in Europe. Dimitrov becomes a refugee in Vienna and there worked for the liberation of the people in Bulgaria. Places in Vienna frequented by Dimitrov.
Rise of Fascism in Germany. Ernst Thaelmann. Hindenburg concedes power to Hitler. Marching SS troopers. Burning of books. Hitler giving speech. Goering. Kristallnacht. Atrocities against Jews, burning of the Reichstag. Newspaper articles, Hitler, Heydrich and Goebbels calling for imprisonment of Communists. 27 February 1933, Dimitrov reads news of events on way to Berlin. Dimitrov and German Communists check on each other through daily calls. Dimitrov and others are arrested by Nazis and accused of causing Reichstag fire.
Segment 3: 21 September 1933. Dimitrov is brought in front of Imperial Court. Photographs of the trial. Dimitrov's mother attends the trial. Photographs of the trial run over a spoken transcript of the trial. Newspaper articles from around the world support Dimitrov. A counter-trial takes place in London, led by Dennis Pritt. Protests all over the world take place calling for the release of Dimitrov. Bulgarians support Dimitrov. Images from Bulgarian publications. Goering comes forward as a witness transferring the trial to Berlin. Sound recording of trial over photographs taken. The German communist party survives by publishing under pseudonyms and innocent headings. Atrocities against Communists who distributed leaflets at the time of Dimitrov's trial. Film of trial. Dimitrov speaks in his own defence. He speaks against European fascism and in support of the Communists and the people of Bulgaria. Dimitrov acquitted. Hitler and other leaders meet to discuss the best method of handling Dimitrov including sending him to a concentration camp. Letters to Himmler and Hess in regards to the future of Dimitrov. Dimitrov writes to Bulgaria asking for a return to his own country, but it is to the USSR that he shall go on 27 February 1934. Huge crowds gather in Moscow to welcome Dimitrov. Dimitrov address to the USSR on film (translation provided). He calls for the crushing of fascism and declares the importance of Moscow. Dimitrov welcomed by Soviets and meets with his family. Children write to Dimitrov. Scenes in Moscow. Marching army. Parades by children.
Segment 4: A new line of Policy; the People's Front across Europe to fight fascism. The People's Front wins victory in Spain and is supported by anti-fascist across Europe. Fascist victory ends Spanish Civil War and 22 June 1941 sees attack by Nazis on the Soviet Union. Civilian victims of war: film and photographs. Dimitrov loses his own son. Hitler meets with Bulgarian president. Dimitrov calls on the Bulgarian people to save their country. Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad and Bulgarians and Soviets join forces to liberate Bulgaria. 9 September 1944, liberation of Bulgaria. 9 May 1945, Communist flag is flown over the Reichstag. Nuremberg trials. Anti-fascist sentiments in post-war Germany. Dimitrov returns to Bulgaria and addresses nation. Cheering crowds. Rebuilding of Bulgaria. Dimitrov in political campaigns, meeting the people. People celebrating. Dimitrov elected Prime Minister of the first democratic constitution. Paris Conference guarantees peace and solidarity for Bulgaria within the Eastern Block. Dimitrov visits these and other countries.
Segment 5: Fifth Congress of the Party. Dimitrov addresses conference describing the difficult but essential future path of Bulgaria. Workers unite to rebuild Bulgaria and develop industry. Dimitrov visits people across Bulgaria including public and political ministers. Dimitrov struck with illness. Death of Dimitrov. Funeral procession. Crowds line procession. Memorials to Dimitrov.

Commemorative objects about the Reichstag Fire Trial, and Leipzig (location
of the original trial), presented to early leader of int'l anti-Hitler movement

Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines

German version of Pritt's book about
the proceedings of the Counter-trial, autographed 

Commission Chairman Pritt reading the Report from the Reichstag Fire Counter-Trial, in Caxton Hall, London (from a chapter-heading page from Reichstag Fire: Ashes of Democracy, a popularization of Fritz tobias' work, by R. John Pritchard).

from http://www.filmandsound.ac.uk/collections/records/0002-0000-0053-0000-0-0000-0000-0.html ;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    IN ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND APPRECIATION                               OF THE SERVICE TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE
IN THE ANTI-FASCIST RESISTANCE 

DENIS N. PRITT


IS AWARDED THE 

            MEDAL FOR FIGHTERS              
.
AGAINST FASCISM
.
1933-1945

 

BERLIN, ON 8 SEPTEMBER 1963     
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS


O. Grotewohl    (Signature)

East German  MEDAL FOR "FIGHTERS AGAINST FASCISM"  1933-1945, awarded to Pritt in 1963, instituted in 1958, diameter of 32 mm.; it brought the recipient annual honor money of 500 Marks.  
Obverse shows portraits of Communist leaders Ernst Thälmann and Rudolf Breitscheid.  The reverse shows a 20 mm. large state emblem of the E. German regime; the inscription means
 "FORWARD AND DO NOT FORGET 1933-1945."

Magnetic tape  "Anklageschrift in der Straffache gegen Van der Lubbe v. Genossen 15J86.33", (recording of the proceedings in the case of Van der Lubbe vs. Society") and book containing transcript of tapes' contentsin leather bound presentation box (244 x 386 x 39 mm.) with gilt-embossed arms of Leipzig.   (Van der Lubbe was the man convicted and executed for starting the Reichstag Fire.) 

Pritt was the Chairman of the "Counter-trial" Commission of Inquiry in London, 21-28 September 1933
Presentation album (420 x 307 mm.) to "DENIS NOWELL PRITT, HONORARY CITIZEN OF THE CITY OF LEIPZIG, A GREAT FRIEND OF THE GEORGI DIMITROV MUSEUM", with 16 photos, of Pritt's visits to the Museum (1957-1970) and of a Memorial gathering held there after his death in 1972.  Incl. is a (facsimilie) handwritten statement by Angela Davis. 
Mr. Queen's Councillor Professor D.N. Pritt,
at the remembrance of the reopening
of the permanent exhibition
of the Georgi Dimitrov Museum on
25.9.1965
                                                           in Grateful Esteem 
                                                             (Signature

Album's first page, with attached card open:

Embossed cover of card attached to album's first page

Presentation album ( 305 x 226 mm.) with  43 pages of photos of events at the Georgi Dimitrov Museum, incl. photos showing Pritt there

Diploma folder is 216 x 310 mm.

Inscription on photo reverse: main paragraph starts with "Council of Ministers awards 'Medal for Fighters against Fascism 1933-1945' "; last  paragraph translates as "The British Queen's Councillor Denis N. Pritt accepts the insignia. Right: Bruno Lauschner."

89 mm. diameter white porcelain  disk celebrating Leipzig 800 yrs., in green felt (?) case w/ Leipzig arms on cover

"Meeting of the comrades and friends of Georgi Dimitrov, the honored guests at the opening celebration, and the collaborators of the Georgi Dimitrov Museum"

"GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
800 YEARS OF LEIPZIG
1965"

Honorary Citizenship and Doctor of Law Degrees, presented to Denis Nowell Pritt, Q.C.
Miscellaneous awards presented
to Denis Nowell Pritt, Q.C.

The D.N. Pritt, Q.C., Fighter vs. Fascism Archive

Telephone  773-539-5751      
FAX            773-304-0131
Postal address
P.O. Box 300791, Chicago, IL 60630, USA
Electronic mail  buynobel@sbcglobal.net
Prices available upon request.

J.A. Schramek
& Associates

Cased, 92 mm. diameter, porcelain chocolate-colored disk depicting "VöLKERSCHLACHT Denkmal Leipzig" ("Battle of the Nations monument, Leipzig");  reverse has "Leipzig City Council".

Ever since Pritt's 1933 Report on the Reichstag Fire electrified the Western World, controversy has raged among historians about his conclusion about a Nazi plot to maunfacture an excuse to destroy civil liberties in Germany.  The politicization of this controversy is becoming a vivid microcosm of the increased polarization in the US and elsewhere;  the Left generally sees him as a maligned hero, the Right sees him as at best a Red dupe. 

See "The contentious debate about the Reichstag Fire and the related trials".

On 27 Feb. 1933, four weeks after Hitler had become German Chancellor, and six days before a crucial national election, the Reichstag (parliament) building burnt to the ground.  Hitler immediately issued an emergency decree suspending most civil liberties.  Within days arrests began to rope in Communists, four of whom would stand trial along with the Dutchman caught at the crime scene.  For the world, it was the Trial of the Century.  

The 1933 Reichstag Fire was one of the great Whodunits of the century, exceeded in magnitude only by the JFK assassination.

Pritt's 1933 Findings on the Reichstag Fire electrified the Western World, and thus did much to galvanize anti-Nazi sentiment;  it was thereafter the standard view of the Arson of the Century until Tobias' work, excerpted below.  From then on, to the Right, Pritt was a sucker for manipulation by Commies amply funded by Moscow. To the Left, he was a hero whose work  has been smeared by the (progenitors of today's) Right Wing Noise Machine.
We at Awards of Outstanding International Importance do not purport to be qualified to adjudicate this emotionally-charged historical/political dispute;  at this link, we present key passages from the most respected writings of each side of this debate.

Debate over Pritt's
Reichstag Fire Findings

Contents

Reichstag Fire Commission of Inquiry in London, 14 September 1933, members standing, commencing second from left - Garfield Hays (U.S.A.), Dr. Bakker-Nort (Holland), Mr. D. N. Pritt, K. C. (England, red arrow), Mr. Vald Huidt (Denmark, High Court), Senator George Branting (Sweden) half concealed, and extreme right Dr. Vermeylen (Belgium). 
BELOW: Same as above, only with the members sitting. The original of this photo is included in the Archive for sale.)

Site Map

Site Map

The raging debate over Pritt's Reichstag Fire Findings

Reverse of
above photo.

Included in this Pritt Archive are the following books:

The Brown Book of the Hitler Terror and the Burning of the Reichstag,

 

by the World Committee for the Victims of German Fascism
The Burning of the Reichstag, by Douglas Reed (1934)
Insanity Fair: a European Cavalcade, by Douglas Reed
(Random House, New York, 1939);
 and
International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to
Advance Human Rights,
by Arthur Jay Klinghofer and Judith Apter
Klinghofer (St. Martins', New York, 2002)

"Human Rights Investigation and Dialogue", by Bronwyn Leebaw, a review of

Prices available
upon request.

Pritt's Reichstag Fire awards etc.:

Magnetic tape
"Anklagefsch.rift in der Straffache gegen Van der Lubbe v. Genossen 15J86.33", (recording of the proceedings in "the case of Van der Lubbe vs. Society") and book containing transcript of tape's contents, all in leather bound presentation box (244 x 386 x 39 mm.) with gilt-embossed arms of Leipzig. (Van der Lubbe was the man convicted and executed for starting the 1933 Reichstag Fire.) 

Diploma (1963) for E. German Medaille für Kampfer Gegen den Faschismus 1933-45, ("Fighter against Fascism") in folder; medal, in case of issue; photo of him receiving award.

Porcelain white disk, 89 mm. diameter, celebrating Leipzig 800 yrs. (1165-1965), in green (felt?) case of issue, w/ Leipzig arms on cover.

Leipzig presentation photo album for the 800th anniersary celebrations 1165-1965, with 43 pages of photos of events at the Georgi Dimitrov Museum, incl. photos showing Pritt there. First page is inscribed "Herrn Kronanwalt Professor D. N. Pritt... zur Erinnerung an die Widerstand der ständigen Ausstellung... des Georgi Dimitrov Museums am... 25.9.1965" (Mr. Queen's Councillor Professor D.N. Pritt, at the remembrance of the reopening of the permanent exibition of the Georgi Dimitrov Museum....").
                                                                                                                 
Porcelain chocolate-colored disk, 92 mm. diameter (in case of issue) depicting "Völkerschlacht Denkmal Leipzig", the monument commemorating the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, in which Napoleon's defeat led to his fall from power in 1814.

Georgi Dimitrov Museum, Leipzig, presentation photo album: "DENIS NOWELL PRITT, HONORARY CITIZEN OF THE CITY OF LEIPZIG, A GREAT FRIEND OF THE GEORGI DIMITROV MUSEUM"; with 16 photos, of Pritt's visits to the Museum (1957-1970) and of a Memorial gathering held there after his death in 1972.

Telephone  773-539-5751      
FAX            773-304-0131
Postal address
P.O. Box 300791, Chicago, IL 60630, USA
Electronic mail  buynobel@sbcglobal.net
Prices available upon request.

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