Press Camp of the Nuremberg war crimes trials
As early as the middle of the 19th century, Baron Lothar von Faber built a castle and villa in Stein as a residence for himself and his family. Between 1903 and 1906 his granddaughter, Countess Ottilie, together with her husband Count Alexander von Faber-Castell, had a "new" castle added to the existing one as a representative family residence.
The Faber-Castell family lived in the castle until the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1939 Roland Graf von Faber-Castell and his family retreated to their country estate. Meanwhile the Wehrmacht established a command post for the anti-aircraft searchlight department in the castle tower.
As early as October 1945, the first reporters appeared in Stein. Some of them soon left again, others stayed here until the sentencing in October 1946 or until the end of the Subsequent Trials in April 1949. During this time, "history was written" in Stein.
When the journalists had left after the Nuremberg Trials, an American officers' club moved into the premises until 1953. But even after the Americans had left the castle again, the family did not return. For many years it sank into a “Sleeping Beauty” sleep, from which it only awoke in 1986 when it was first opened to the public as part of an exhibition to mark the 225th anniversary of the company. Today, after careful restoration, it has been restored to its former glory. It houses the company museum and provides a stylish setting for social events.
Press Camp and the "Faber flock”Up to one hundred journalists from all over the world lived at the Press Camp in Stein. The male trial observers stayed in the castle of the Faber-Castell family. Among the most famous new residents were exiled Germans such as Alfred Döblin, Willy Brandt, Erich Kästner and Markus Wolf. John dos Passos and the later US star reporter Walter Cronkite were also guests in Stein, as well as some Soviet reporters, e.g. Boris Polewoi or the cartoonist Nikolai Shukow.
The Soviet journalists stayed in the former casino of officials, a building next to the castle, which the Americans called the "Russian Palace". All reporters from all over the world gathered for meals and in the evening in the bars and for socialising in the palace. Dinner was shared in the former ballroom and dining hall. This was also where a part of the social life of the "Faber flock" took place, as the inhabitants were jokingly called by the American prosecutor Telford Taylor. For this purpose, a new, large party-bar was set up right next to the dining rooms.
Several rooms in the castle were rebuilt and converted by the Allies. Thus the large representative Gobelin Hall was transformed into an open-plan office with numerous desks. This is where the reporters wrote some of their reports on the course of the Nuremberg Trials.
One of the biggest challenges in organising the Press Camp was to accommodate so many people under one roof. Shirer described the conditions there as follows: “Packed eight or ten in a room in a ramshackle building which serves as a press camp, they are forced to live under sanitary conditions – or rather the lack of them – which the State of New York never would permit in Sing-Sing."
The entire castle was cramped: In the Countess's drawing room, bedsteads were lined up next to each other and the sanitary facilities were not up to the onslaught of people. Nevertheless, people knew how to have a good time, as Telford Taylor confirmed: "Despite the horrendous décor and the shortcomings of bed and board, visits to Faber Castle were enjoyable.”
The villa - a home for female journalistsFemale journalists from all over the world also travelled to the Nuremberg Trials. Many of them, such as Erika Mann, Rebecca West, Nora Waln and Martha Gellhorn, lived in the villa built by Lothar von Faber. It also housed couples who followed the trials from the press gallery.
Rebecca West, like her colleagues, complained about the lack of privacy: "There was nowhere in the Schloss where one could be alone. Everyone’s bedroom became full of people sitting about because their own bedrooms were full with people sitting about because they too had found their bedrooms full."
She therefore enjoyed her walks in the Faber Park, or her visits to the conservatory and greenhouse of the Faber-Castell family, where beautiful violets were grown.
Life at the Press Camp
The journalists were present at the Trials in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg until about 5 pm, after which the reporters' free time began. Many journalists used the time to write reports or diaries and books. In the Press Camp, however, table tennis and chess were also played, there were reading corners and libraries.
Further entertainment was offered in the former Marstall. There the Americans set up a cinema where one could watch many Hollywood movies. Especially the Russian inhabitants of the castle enjoyed the light shows.
In their diaries and publications, the journalists describe the evenings in the two bars in the Press Camp, the Christmas tree, which was decorated with a typewriter and whisky bottles in 1945, and the numerous parties that were celebrated in the castle.
In 1948 the wedding of Ray D´Addario and the interpreter Margarete Borufka was even celebrated in the reception room of the castle. The American army photographer captured in his pictures not only the Nuremberg Trials, but also life in the Press Camp and the destroyed city of Nuremberg.
Never before had as many correspondents, writers and reporters from so many countries come together. Despite initial difficulties and the suboptimal living conditions at the Press Camp, the journalist community grew together.
In 1946, after the Trial of Major War Criminals, the day of departure came for most reporters. The Soviet writer Boris Polewoi reported on a "warm farewell" to the foreign correspondents: "They have a different notion of happiness to us, another worldview, other methods of working. Nevertheless, we got on well with them for nine months…”