by Charles Gulick
Chart: Southern West Germany
Title: NUREMBERG TRY
En Route Coordinates:
Aircraft: N17553, E16674
Tower: N17563.760, E16696.167
Imagine that you're very low on fuel as you fly past the Fernmeldeturm Tower and toward the Pegnitz River that flows through Nuremberg. You take some glances at the tower (another Shish Kebab) as you go by, but you continue straight ahead, looking for a place to set your airplane down.
The only possibility, you figure, is one of those parks that skirt the water up ahead. But as you fly along, nothing looks very promising.
Then, as the transmitter tower disappears off to your left, you see it. Straight ahead. A little strip of grass on this side of the river, just beyond that quasi-circular section of roadway, and this side of what appears to be a bridge. That's your best (possibly your only) chance, but you have to work to get into position, and you'll have to estimate the field elevation as you descend.
Or is the other side of the bridge a better possibility? As you approach, you figure either stretch of grass will do--the key thing being that you don't brush with the bridge. (The tower observer is on the first stretch.)
Nuremberg is, of course, famous as the scene of the 1945-49 trials of German military leaders, as well as of judges and other civilians. Three kinds of crime were involved: Crimes Against Peace, specifically the planning and waging of aggressive war; War Crimes, the murder and mistreatment of civilians and prisoners, killing of hostages, plunder and destruction of communities and property; and Crimes Against Humanity, the extermination or enslavement of civilian populations on political, racial, or religious grounds.
An international military tribunal established by the U.S., Britain, France, and the USSR tried two dozen Nazis for crimes against humanity, 12 of whom were sentenced to death, and the rest imprisoned. Among those sentenced to death were Hermann Goering, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Alfred Rosenberg. The Nuremberg trials established major " new principles in international law, the most important being that individuals are responsible for their own acts. Today it is regarded--at least in international law--as correct to disobey the order of a superior if by obeying it you would commit a crime of the type described above.
On a lighter note, Nuremberg several centuries ago was the home of a cobbler named Hans Sachs (1494-1576), who had a talent for comic verse. He specialized in a then-popular type of poetic song named Meistersang, based on minstrel traditions. And it was this real person, Hans Sachs, whom German composer Richard Wagner (1813-83) immortalized in his opera, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, completed in 1867. While outwardly the work was a comedy, Wagner himself wrote of
"... under the opera's quaint superficies of popular humor, the profound melancholy, the lament, the cry of distress of poetry in chains...."