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Austrian Ex-nazi Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Killing Jews

Two Austrians who served as policemen during the Nazi regime were convicted today of the mass murder of Polish Jews and of having mistreated and robbed their victims before killing them. Four other policemen, tried at the same time, were acquitted.

Leopold Mitas, the chief defendant, was given a life sentence, while Josef Poell, convicted of the same crimes, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The other four were acquitted partly because of a lack of evidence and partly because the jury found that they had acted “under orders.”

A second trial of Austrian policemen accused of similar crimes is expected to start soon. They were all held as prisoners in the Soviet Union until a year ago when the USSR released them as part of the agreement under which the Allied occupation of Austria was ended. The Soviet authorities also turned over documentary evidence of their crimes, but they were not re-arrested in Austria until after a number of organizations protested the government’s failure to act against them.

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