Oswifcim Commandant Who Directed Murder of 4,000,000 Aimits Guilt As Trial Opens

Budolf Hoess, former commandant of the Oswiecim death camp, who has been described as the “greatest mass-murderer in history,” today admitted responsibility for everything that transpired at the camp, in a brief statement issued at the opening of his war crimes trial before the highest Polish tribunal.

Before Hoess testified the chief prosecutor stated that the trial was taking place at a very appropriate time in view of the Big Four meeting in Moscow. He urged that the Moscow conferees observe the proceedings carefully and balance the accounts of what happened at Oswiecim with the Germans; plan for mercy. He charged that Hoses was responsible for the murder of 4,000,000, seventy-five percent of whom were Jews.

The trial which is expected to last three weeks is attracting great attention because of its international character. Many governments are involved, since the people murdered by order of Hoess included man and woman of many nationalities. In addition to Polish Jews who will appear as witnesses, many foreigners will be among those who will testify.

SEVEN U.S. PROSECUTORS ATTENDING TRIAL AS OBSERVERS

Seven members of the American section of the international military tribunal in Germany are attending the trial as observers. Jewish physicians and scientists from France, Czechoslovakia and Norway have been summoned to testify both as experts and eye-witnesses. The Association of Italian Jews has a representative, Colonel Mark Vitale, among the observers sent by the Italian Government.

Hoess, who was captured in the American zone of Germany, denied, when questioned by American investigating authorities that he had sent 4,000,000 to death in the gas chambers at Oswiecim. He estimated that those gassed at his orders totaled about 2,000,000.

Hoess was born 47 years ago in Baden Baden, Germany, and joined the Nazi party long before Hitler came to power. Prior to being appointed commandant of Oswiecim he was one of the administrators of the Dachau camp. He was surrendered by the U.S. military authorities to Poland at the request of the Polish Government.

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