GIESSEN, Germany (Jan. 27)
Edward Lucius, who in various confessions made over the past two years had admitted that he shot huge numbers of Jews while serving with the German forces at Czortkow, Poland, in 1942, was convicted here as an “accessory to murder in an indeterminate multitude of cases” and sentenced to only four years’ imprisonment, after it had been ruled that he is subject to juvenile-court jurisdiction.
This ruling, remarkable in view of the fact that the defendant is 35 years old, was based on the theory that he might conceivably have been a few months under 21 when he participated in his first series of mass executions. While he retracted several confessions he had previously made, he admitted in open court that he had operated a submachine gun on at least three occasions on which batches of some 500 nude Jewish men, women and children from the Czortkow ghetto were lined up at the edge of a trench they had been forced to dig, and were mowed down by an eight-man firing squad.
Lucius was born in Warsaw of Polish parents, but claimed to be an “ethnic German” when the Nazis marched into Poland in 1939. Due to his knowledge of languages he was accepted by the German Army. He “hated the Jews,” he says, and capped an adventurous career by enrolling as a member of the “SD,” a sort of super-Gestapo. There he was assigned to the firing squads that machine gunned and otherwise murdered the Jewish population of the Lemberg region.