Law Society’s Gazette, September 1962

Father v Son

An unusual encounter took place recently at Cardiff Magistrates’ court when a father and son, both of who are solicitors, appeared, respectively, for the defence and the prosecution. They are Mr Myer Cohen (admitted 1927) and Mr Jeffrey Cohen (admitted 1960).

Such an encounter is not of course unheard of where a solicitor-father and barrister-son (or vice versa) are concerned, but where a father and son are both solicitors, they tend to belong to the same firm or, if they are in separate firms, they normally would practise in different localities. In either event it is unlikely that they would appear together in the same action. It happened in the recent case in Cardiff Magistrates’ Court only because the father is in private practice; the son is in the town clerk’s department.

A Reminder: The Nuremberg Trials (by JJ Heydecker and J Leeb (Heinemann, price £2 2s.)

Little was heard in Germany about the Nuremberg trial when it took place in 1945. At that time the number of Germans sought by the Allied War Crimes Commission had risen from 1m to almost 6m. Owing to a severe paper shortage newspapers only appeared twice a week and the unending catalogue of crimes of unsurpassed barbarity and atrocity which the trial revealed did not appeal to the German public.

In 1957 – about the time that German theatre audiences listened in silence to a dramatised version of Anne Frank’s diary – two German journalists wrote this book as a first attempt to present the trial of the major war criminals to the German public.

The book records the vilest and most devilish crimes that have ever besmirched civilisation and, though only the leaders of Nazi Germany were on trial at Nuremberg, they could not have pursued their evil purpose without the blind obedience of millions of Germans who carried out their orders, shrinking from no atrocities however revolting. Of the 21 accused, 12 were sentenced to death by hanging. Although there has been much argument since about the legal basis in international law of the crimes for which the accused were sentenced, few outside Germany have felt any doubt that the punishment was amply deserved.