Munich (Nov. 27)
The American Military Government court here yesterday sentenced 41 former Jewish policemen of the Wetzlar Camp, north of Frankfurt, to three months imprisonment as a result of a clash between Revisionists and other political groupings in the camp. Five residents of the camp who did not participate in the fracas, but attempted to stop the disturbance, have also been placed on trial.
The incident occurred on Nov. 13 when the local military commander suddenly, and without explanation, ordered that the entire camp police force be replaced. The same night a group of 20 Revisionists surrounded the camp’s police station and attempted to break in. Military police arrived on the scene and arrested the police, rather than the demonstrators, allowing the Revisionists to take over the police duties. Aa a result the local camp committee resigned, charging that the military officials were playing politics.
A delegation of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews which called on high ranking MG officers at Heidelberg for an explanation were told that the ousted police were “Communists” and that the Revisionists who had replaced them were “anti-Communists.” After pointing out that Communism was not illegal in the U.S. zone, the Committee proceeded to explain the facts of life of Zionist politics to the officers, stressing that Communism was not the issue.
As a result of this meeting, it was agreed that both parties would attempt to avoid publicity concerning the incident and, further, that a committee consisting of military officials. IRO representatives and camp leaders would settle the matter amicably. The MG spokesmen also promised that charges against those arrested would be dropped, or that if they were tried, suspended sentences would be imposed.
The court’s action yesterday apparently represents a repudiation of this promise, and Jewish leaders plan to file vigorous protests. At the trial, the prosecution could not produce one witness who could identify any of the defendants as having participated in the riots, and defense counsel pointed out that all of the police had been inside the building.
Meanwhile, the joint committee has appointed a new police force to replace the Revisionists, but the residents of the camp are reported to be aroused by the court’s decision.