ULM, Germany (Jun. 23)
A Catholic functionary who was Minister of Agriculture in pre-war Lithuania testified to the torture and execution of Jews and other Lithuanians at the trial here of 10 former leaders of a special Gestapo squad sent to liquidate Jews and any opposition to the Nazis in Lithuania. Among the defendants is Col. Bernard Schweder-Fisher, one-time chief of police in Nazi-occupied Memel.
Monsignor Kieutativius told the court today that a large number of Jews and suspected Communists were rounded up one evening and imprisoned in a hotel in Memel where they were “interrogated” by Gestapo men. The next day, the former Agriculture Minister continued, the prisoners were dragged out, many women and children among them who were barely able to walk under their own power, and taken into a nearby woods and shot.
The witness declared that to his knowledge, no regular German Army units were involved in these murders. This is expected to be a major point of evidence, since at least one defendant is basing his case on the claim that the Wehrmacht was involved and were as responsible for the killing of over 5, 000 persons as was the special Gestapo unit.