Paris (Jan. 10)
The need for concerted international action in ferreting out war criminals was emphasized today by Col. Paul Chauvean, director of the French Service of Investigation of War Crimes. Col. Chauvean, former dean of the law faculty of the University of Algiers and former chief justice of Corsica, organized the French war crimes agency for the Ministry of Justice last October, and has directed it since its inception.
“I consider that seeking out war criminals isn’t a ‘national work,’ but an inter-Allied task,” he declared in an interview with a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent. Since the beginning of December, he said, the French agency has completed more than 100 investigations, and sent complete dossiers on crimes against civilians and the military to the Allied commission at London.
One of the investigations covered the Struthof concentration camp in Alsace where more than 20,000 persons, mainly Jews, were killed. Although Col. Chauveau has not yet received full details’ of this investigation, he revealed some which are now available. He said that it has been learned that solely to furnish cadavers for an “experiment in racial heredity” 86 prisoners, most of whom were Jews, were gassed to death.
A laboratory assistant at the Strasbourg Institute of Anatomy. told the investigators that German professors at the Institute, requiring a large number of corpses for an experiment ordered them from the commandant of the Struthof camp. The victims were asphyxiated in Struthof gas chambers and rushed to Strasbourg while still warm. His employers, he said, ordered him to rush preparation of the cadavers. He cut off testicles from the males and sent them to the operating room immediately. That was the only use to which the bodies were put, he said. They were then preserved in formaldehyde for a year and when the Allies neared Strasbourg their heads were cut off and burned to prevent identification of the victims.
An International Central Register of “wanted” war criminals is now being established by SHAEF to facilitate their arrest and punishment when Germany is fully occupied, Col. Chauveau said. The Register will function in close collaboration with the Allied War Crimes Commission in London and with those agencies created in all Allied countries to investigate war crimes and to identify their perpetrators.