Ten Jews Called to Testify at Trial of the “beast of Belsen” in British-held Germany
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Ten Jews Called to Testify at Trial of the “beast of Belsen” in British-held Germany

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Ten Jewish women are among the 32 witnesses who will be heard by the court now trying Josef Kramer, the “Beast of Belsen” and 44 of his S.S. colleagues, including 19 women, for atrocities committed at the Bergen-Belsen camp and at Oswiecim, where Kramer also served.

In his opeing address, yesterday, Col. T.N. Backhouse, prosecuting attorney, charged that of 45,000 Greek Jews sent to Oswiecim only 60 survived. Although Jews as such have not been mentioned otherwise at the trial, so far, many Jewish names appear among the victims listed in the charges against the various defendants.

Col. Backhouse in listing the defendants mentioned that the prosecution was not interested in crimes by Germans against Germans. Therefore, as far as this trial is concerned, the atrocities committed by any of the accused upon German Jews will not be considered.

Among the observers here are two representing Jewish organizations. They are Norman Bentwich, former Palestine Attorney General and an expert on international law, who is here on behalf of the Joint Committee to Aid Jews in Europe, which is a British organization, and Alec Easterman, executive secretary of the British section of the World Jewish Congress.

Brig H.L.G. Hughes, the first witness to testify today, said that Jewish children who were found at Bergen-Belsen when the camp was liberated, survived because their mothers had sacrificed themselves to save the youngsters from being executed.


Belsen still houses 10,000 Jews, a JTA correspondent found when he visited the camp today. They are living in former barracks, which, although fairly comfortable, are dreadfully overcrowded. A huge sign over the entrance gate says in German and English that “This is the site of the infamous Belsen concentration camp which was liberated by the British forces on April 15, 1945. Ten thousand unburied dead were found here, and another 13,000 died after liberation. All were victims of the German New Order in Europe and were an example of Nazi Kultur.”

This past week-end, the Jewish committee succeeded in having the Polish Jews at the camps transferred from the Polish to the Jewish section, where the stateless Jews are quartered. Both the inmates and relief workers denied that any plebiscite had been held on the question of repatriation, They declare that hardly a single Jew does not want to emigrate to Palestine. This is particularly true of the 85 children, all of whom look healthy, although many of the adults are ill and depressed.

The Jewish committee, which is headed by M. Rosensaft, a Left Poale-Zionist publishes a weekly in Yiddish, while a bi-weekly Yiddish publication, “Unzer Stimme,” is issued by another group. A dramatic circle and discussion group are also functioning.

While at Belsen, the correspondent learned that four kibbutzim have already been established in Germany and a fifth will be set up shortly near Hamburg.

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