PARIS (Dec. 20)
Spurred by Washington reports that retiring Attorney General Homer S. Cummings was considering joining defense counsel, efforts went forward today to insure for Herschel Grynszpan, slayer of a German Embassy official, an open trial, the desire for which he says motivated his act.
Grynszpan’s supporters, fighting reported continued German efforts to keep the trial secret and thus prevent a move to make the Reich the real defendant before the bar of public opinion, were cheered by the offer to Mr. Cummings. His acceptance, it was said, would go far to make certain an open trial, which was already believed to be almost sure.
The young Polish Jew did not wish to kill Ernst vom Rath, but only to wound him and provoke a trial that would draw the world’s attention to the Nazi anti-Jewish terrorism, the defendant told an examining magistrate yesterday when confronted with German Embassy officials and employes for a re-enactment of the shooting. The reconstruction had originally been scheduled to be held in the Embassy building, but the magistrate had complied with Grynszpan’s plea that he not be forced to enter the Embassy again.
The court proceedings disclosed that the defendant had never entered the Embassy previous to Nov. 7, but anybody was admitted to the building if he but said he had “important documents” to deliver. Somewhat pale, but standing erect, the youth faced the Embassy doorman, Nagorka, an Embassy official, Otto Kruger, and a French policeman permanently stationed before the Embassy. On cross-examination, Grynszpan testified that it was the first time he had entered the Embassy but had asked the policeman where the entrance was and was directed to it by the gendarme. The policeman confirmed this and also testified that a few minutes later, after vom Rath had been shot, he had arrested Grynszpan.
Nagorka admitted he had asked Grynszpan no questions when the latter entered the building saying he had an important document and wished to see an official in authority. Nagorka testified that he then led the youth directly to vom Rath, who took the defendant into his room. Whem vom Rath asked him for the documents, Grynszpan related on further cross-examination, he drew a gun and said: “You treat us like dogs; we want justice.” He then fired the gun. Nagorka and Kruger rushed into the room and seized the youth, but he testified that he had said: “Do not fear. I am not escaping. I am surrendering myself to the police.”
The magistrate sought to establish by cross-examination of Embassy witnesses whether they heard vom Rath shout, “You dirty Jew!” after he had been shot, but this point was not cleared up. The proceedings in court lasted four hours. Defense lawyers participating were Henry Torres, Vincent De Moro-Ghiafferi, George Dubossarsky and M. Weill-Goudchaux.