Vilna (Apr. 15)
The State Attorney, who was to have conducted the case for the prosecution against the young Jews, Zalkind and Ogus, who are charged with the murder of Stanislaw Waclawski, a National Democratic student who was killed during the anti-Jewish excesses in Vilna last November, has created a sensation by announcing his withdrawal from the case, stating that he cannot prosecute in view of the complete unreliability of the chief witness for the prosecution, a young woman named Kazimiera Lepkowska, whose arrest he has ordered. Lepkowska’s statements made to the examining authorities have been found to be full of contradictions, and in addition it has been discovered that she was never a student, as she claimed to be, and she is also known to the police as having been responsible for several swindling affairs.
The proceedings against the accused Jews are being continued, however, notwithstanding the State Attorney’s withdrawal.
The President of the Vilna Jewish Community, ex-Deputy Dr. Wygodski, who gave evidence to-day, describing as an eye-witness the scenes during the anti-Jewish outbreak in November, was repeatedly pulled upn by the President of the Court.
Commissary Wasilewski, the chief of the Vilna Police Investigation Department, who also appeared as a witness to-day, describing the occurrences as he had seen them, claimed that there had been incitement and acts of provocation on both sides, in consequence of false rumours that had been spread in the city.
A number of witnesses for the accusation who were heard to-day contradicted each other with regard to the circumstances surrounding Waclawski’s death.
The defence broke down to-day also the evidence of Anna Openowicz, the chief witness against Wulfin, who is accused of having taken part in the disturbances at the time of the murder. The witness admitted that so far from having seen Wulfin during the disturbances, she had never seen him until a fortnight after the excesses.
The court has agreed to take together both trials, that of murder against Zalkind and Ogus, and of participation in the disturbances against Wulfin, as was proposed by the leading counsel for the defence, ex-Minister of Justice Smiarowski.
Zalkind, who is 23 years of age, is a member of the Jewish sports organisation Maccabee, and works in an office; Ogus, who is also 23, is a locksmith, and Wulfin, who is 19 years of age, is a student of Vilna University.
All three declared to-day in court that they had never seen Waclawski.
The prosecution has asked for permission to put in documents relating to a police search at Ogus’ home, in which 37 cartridge cases and a revolver case had been found. Ogus explains that he received these when he was demobilised recently from the army, and he was using the metal in his work as a locksmith.