Augsburg, Germany (May. 22)
Nineteen displaced Jews were today sentenced by an American Military Government court here to jail terms ranging from two years to three months, after the five-man tribunal had convicted them of participating in a riot at the Landsberg DP Camp on April 28. One defendant was acquitted.
Six men were sentenced to two years, 12 to one year and only one, Faivel Seligman, to three months. Seligman was found guilty of disobeying military government orders, but was cleared of the charge that he participated in the disturbance.
Defense counsel, who were shocked by the severity of the sentences, announced immediately that they would file an appeal with the next higher legal authorities at Munich, who have the power to reduce the sentences.
The sentences were unexpected because of the paucity of evidence connecting the defendants with the outbreak, Only one of the six who received two-year terms was identified as having thrown stones. In issuing its verdict, the court admitted that there had been “no conclusive proof” that the defendants had participated in the violence, but added that there was evidence that “they did however take some part in the riots.” Four military police who attended the entire trial expressed amazement when they heard the verdicts.
Prior to the sentencing, Capt. Abraham Hyman, of Gary, Indiana, who headed the defense, made a plea for clemency, requesting the two DP guards and the defendant’ past sufferings. He also urged that the men not be punished for a disturbance for which the entire camp was guilty.
The prosecutor, Capt. Herman Gulkin, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, failed to recommend to the court that it suspend the sentences or exercise clemency, which was his prerogative. He told the court that it must be kept in mind that the Military Government’s mission was to maintain law and order and eliminate Nazi methods “of taking the law in your own hands, as the defendants did.”
After the sentencing, the court announced that evidence presented during the trial indicated that some violence had been perpetrated by two other DP’s who were not arrested, and asked that they be apprehended.