I'm watching a black and white newsreel, from the end of World War Two. It's showing a strange procession through Berlin shortly after it's capture by the Allies. The procession is a large motorcade - a military accompaniment - to a small, ornate carriage made of gold and glass, pulled by a pair of horses. Inside that carriage are two people - a man and a woman - that the newsreel commentator announces as the highest-ranking Nazi surviving the war and his wife. They are being taken by the Americans to stand trial.
The scene shifts slightly, and now I'm a part of it, following the motorcade. Now it is in Washington DC, where the captured Nazi's trial will proceed. I am some sort of minor Washington bureaucrat and, for whatever reason, me and my fellows have been told to join in this public exhibition of a great criminal.
As I'm walking, I'm talking to an acquaintance of mine, wondering why we are even bothering with this trial. Everyone knows that it is a foregone conclusion, that this man will be found guilty and executued. I mention that I don't condone the death penalty, nor do I approve of kangeroo courts. My companion doesn't quite agree with me, as he feels that the Nazis deserve whatever punishment they get, but the disagreement between us is mild. After all, it would be very sticky if our debate was somehow misunderstood and I got branded as being disloyal.
The procession ends at a building made specifically for the war crimes trials - a huge edifice of white marble in the DC neoclassic style. Over two hundred steep marble stairs lead up to the front entrance, and the one on trail is slowly taken up them, with much sense of ceremony and deliberation. My fellow office-bees and myself head around to the back entrance, which has a much more convenient elevator.
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