Augsburg, Germany (May. 20)
Defense counsel for the 20 Landsberg DP’s accused of participating in a riot opened its case today by placing Isaac Rosen, 20, one of the defendants, on the stand to give his account of the disturbance in which several German civilians were injured.
In low faltering tones, Rosen began his testimony by asking the court to take into account the fact that “6,000,000 of my people were burned and gassed, including my parents and those of others of the accused,” and also that the disturbance was not directed against the Military Government or the military police, but was caused by the disappearance of two DP guards.
After he had been questioned by his counsel and the prosecution, the court asked Rosen if he had anything more to add. Replying, he made an eloquent appeal in German, in which he stressed that the outbreak followed not only the disappearance of the guards, but also the incidents at Stuttgart and Regensberg, where Jewish DP’s were killed by Germans.
“After six years in the ghettos and camps,” he continued, “only a remnant of our people have survived, and that remnant sticks together like brothers and sisters. When we heard about the incident at Diessen (where the guards disappeared) the court must understand how we felt and why people grew excited. After years in the camps, these people are still in camps, although most of them wish to go to Palestine. When we get there we will not forget that it was Allied might that beat fascism and helped us.”
During his testimony, Rosen stated that he and a few others were stopped by the military police as they were going to town to request the release of two DP’s who had been arrested earlier. He repeated the point which has been made several times by the defense that Provost Marshal Maj. Clair Thurston offered to free all of the defendants except one who had a knife.
Preceding Rosen, the defense presented several other DP witnesses and a German civilian who teaches mechanics at the camp. They testified that the defendants were of good character, and were not involved in the main disturbances, which occurred in the early morning. The defense then moved to strike from the records all testimony concerning incidents with which the defendants were not directly involved, but the motion was denied by the court.