Ordinary Soldiers: A Study in Law and Leadership

MCLE Credits: 3.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

Live on Site: Tuesday, August 30 / Virginia Holocaust Museum, Richmond
  Wednesday, August 31 / Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC
Richmond Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Richmond Optional Museum Tour: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Richmond Program: 10:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Washington Registration: 8:00 a.m.
Washington Program: 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
MCLE Credit: 3.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 3.0 Live Interactive MCLE Credit Symbol

Information

Why Attend?

  • Utilizes a case study, based on the research of Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn in his book Marching into Darkness and designed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point, to explore the behavior of ordinary people placed in leadership positions during wartime
  • Understand the practical application of moral, legal, and leadership principles in the context of the challenges facing leaders today under current domestic and international law in armed conflict situations
  • Learn how the German Army in World War II dealt with officers who refused orders to kill protected civilians, and explore the evolution in German court decisions of cases involving alleged war criminals.
  • Enjoy an optional guided tour of the Virginia Holocaust Museum (Richmond attendees), or a VIP pass for expedited admission to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington attendees)

1941. World War II. Occupied Belarus on the Eastern Front. Three German Army company commanders are given an order by their battalion commander to kill all civilian Jews in their company areas.

From this historical case study, based on the research of Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn in his book Marching into Darkness, designed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point, and employing a small-group, breakout style of learning, you will understand how ordinary people placed in leadership positions during wartime balance personal and institutional perspectives on morality, law, and leadership as they decide the fate of legally protected populations.

In conjunction with the seminar, Richmond attendees may participate in an optional guided tour of the Virginia Holocaust Museum before the program. Washington attendees will receive a VIP pass for expedited admission to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, to be used after the program or at a later date.

Using a case study of a German Army battalion in the early part of World War II on the Eastern Front, this seminar explores how a group of ordinary leaders made individual decisions as to whether Jewish civilians in their respective areas would be executed or spared. In October 1941, in Occupied Belarus, the battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 691st Regiment, ordered his three company commanders to kill all Jews in their company areas. The battalion was largely a unit of older reservists, pulling rear-area security duty. One company commander immediately complied, but the second refused. The third commander initially avoided carrying out the order, but then directed his company’s senior enlisted noncommissioned officer to take a detail of soldiers and execute the Jewish civilians after the battalion commander confirmed his order in writing.

After World War II, as Germany regained its sovereignty, the third company commander and his first sergeant were tried in a German court for the murder of 114 civilians. They were convicted, and the record of trial and their appeal offer both a rich trove of witness testimony regarding the executions and often troubling examples of legal analysis of wartime facts. This case study uses the testimony and the legal analysis to explore the strikingly different decisions by three similarly situated officers, and through small-group discussion allows the students to consider the challenges facing such decision makers today, in the context of modern moral, legal, and leadership norms.

Topics to be covered include:

  • The legal obligation of leaders to refuse to follow illegal orders
  • The interplay among morality, law, and leadership styles and principles in achieving the effective protection of persons immune to violence under domestic and international law
  • The importance of individual and institutional perspectives on the treatment of protected persons in armed conflict situations
  • The evolution of the law protecting civilians and prisoners of war
  • Methods of legal analysis used to find and evaluate facts in armed conflict situations in different countries at different times, and what they mean for decision makers today
 

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Schedule

COURSE SCHEDULE FOR RICHMOND

8:30 Registration
9:00 Optional Guided Tour of Virginia Holocaust Museum (This tour does not qualify for MCLE credit)
10:00 Overview of Case Study and Law
Led by Jody Prescott
11:00 Small-Group Discussion and Brief Backs
Facilitated by Jody Prescott and others
12:00 Break (food and refreshments provided)
12:15 Small-Group Discussion and Brief Backs
Facilitated by Jody Prescott and others
1:15 Adjourn and continue to tour the Museum as desired

COURSE SCHEDULE FOR WASHINGTON

8:00 Registration
8:00 Optional Breakfast (free for attendees)
9:00 Overview of Case Study and Law
Led by Jody Prescott
10:00 Small-Group Discussion and Brief Backs
Facilitated by Jody Prescott and others
11:00 Break
11:15 Small-Group Discussion and Brief Backs
Facilitated by Jody Prescott and others
12:15 Adjourn and receive a VIP pass allowing admission to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum*

* Washington attendees can either use their VIP pass to walk over and tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum after the seminar (it is located only a few minutes away by foot), or save this expedited-admission pass to use on a later day.

Faculty

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Jody M. Prescott is a retired U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps Colonel, who has worked since 2011 for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Williston, Vermont.  His work for ICE focuses on commercial litigation and environmental issues.  As an adjunct professor at the University of Vermont, Prescott teaches Environmental Law, U.S. Environmental Politics, and Cyber Policy & Conflict.  As an active duty Army attorney for nearly 25 years, he served as an appellate attorney; senior defense counsel in Stuttgart, Germany; Chief of International & Operational Claims in Mannheim, Germany; Claims Chief in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the NATO Implementation Force Headquarters; deputy general counsel and then later as the general counsel for U.S. Army Alaska in Anchorage; and as a staff attorney and legal observer/trainer at Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.  His final operational assignment was as Chief Legal Advisor, NATO International Security Assistance Force, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008-2009.  He was an assistant professor at the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, 2000-2003, and at West Point, 2009-2011.  He is an author of several publications, including co-author of Ordinary Soldiers: A Study in Law, Ethics and Leadership, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (2014).

Locations, Dates and Fees

LIVE REGISTRATION FEES (food and refreshments provided)

$220 regular registration (printed materials included).
$235 on-site registration (if space is available) (printed materials included).

In conjunction with the seminar, Richmond attendees may participate in an optional guided tour of the Virginia Holocaust Museum before the program. Washington attendees will receive a VIP pass for expedited admission to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, to be used after the program or at a later date.


LIVE LOCATIONS AND DATES

RICHMOND / Tuesday, August 30
Virginia Holocaust Museum (Venue Website / Google Map)
2000 E. Cary Street
(804) 257-5400

Free parking for the Virginia Holocaust Museum is located directly across from the Museum. Please park in the lower lot behind the flood wall. The lower lot is located on Dock Street, is fenced in, and has a VA Holocaust Museum sign on the fence. If you park on the other side of the lot (which is not fenced) your car could be towed, as that side of the lot is not owned by the Museum.

WASHINGTON, DC / Wednesday, August 31
Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Venue Website / Google Map)
Gallery Room
1330 Maryland Ave SW
(202) 554-8588


A special 15% discount and free shipping on Virginia CLE®–published books will be available for purchases made at the seminar site.

Cancellation/transfer requests will be honored through 5:00 p.m. of the DAY BEFORE the seminar. 

If you have a disability that requires special accommodation, please contact Virginia CLE® well in advance of the program date.

Private recording of this program is prohibited.

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