VIENNA (Nov. 13)
Interrupting a parade of witnesses who had accused Erich Koch, former Nazi gauleiter, of many atrocities, the Polish Government’s prosecutor, M. Smolenski, told the court trying Koch, at Warsaw, that the prisoner is “guilty of crimes against humanity.” Under Polish law, a crime against humanity calls for capital punishment.
Dispatches received from Warsaw today reported the prosecutor’s intervention, after a half-dozen witnesses told of the extermination of 220,000 Jews in Bialistok, the death of very young, Jewish children taken out of an orphanage at Rovne, and the mass murder of many Jews in a forest in Ukrainia.
As part of his defense, Koch, who had headed German civil administrations in East Prussia and parts of Poland and Ukrainia, contended that he knew nothing of the fate of Jews, having been “indifferent” to their existence. It was then that the prosecutor interrupted the testimony to tell the court that, as the top official in charge of implementing the Nazi policy of exterminating Jews, some Poles and others, Koch was guilty of “crimes against humanity.”