Paul Hawkins Gantt, 72, an assistant prosecutor for the Nuremberg war crimes trials and a former attorney with the Department of the Interior and the old Atomic Energy Commission, died June 7 at his home in Towson, Md., after a heart attack.

From 1946 to 1949, Mr. Gantt was assigned to the Office of the Chief Counsel for the Nuremberg war crimes trials.As deputy chief of two trial teams, he was responsible for the preparation of war crimes cases.

He also directed the special projects division, charged with the denazification of approximately 3,000 German officials. He was a chief editor of the 15-volume record, "Trial of War Crimes," in both its English and German editions.

Mr. Gantt was born in Vienna, Austria, and earned a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna. He practiced law there for several years before coming to this country in 1939.

He then earned a law degree from the College of William and Mary, where he also was an instructor in government and German. He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1943.

In 1944, he began working with the National Housing Agency in Washington. He transferred to Interior the following year and was an attorney for the Bureau of Mines.

Following three years in Nuremberg and a brief private practice in Washington, Mr. Gantt returned to the Interior Department. He worked for the Bureau of Reclamation here and in Denver.

From 1959 to 1964, he was chairman of Interior's Board of Contract Appeals and assistant solicitor.

He joined the Atomic Energy Commission in 1964 and was chairman of the board of contract appeals until his retirement in 1974.

Mr. Gantt practiced law with Robert Sheriffs Moss for two years before retiring a second time in 1976 because of ill health.

He was a past president of the Federal Bar Association, the Lincoln Group of D.C., and the U.S. Division of the United Nations League of Lawyers. He also was a board member of the National Lawyers Club, a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, and a member of the American Society for State and Local History and other history groups.

He lived in Washington until moving to Towson in 1976.

Survivors include his wife, Hilda Elizabeth, of the home. CAPTION: Picture, PAUL H. GANTT