Menu JTA Search

11 Germans on Trial for Attacking Jewish Cafe Owner and Family

The trial of 11 persons accused of slandering and physically attacking the family of a Jewish cafe owner in the nearby town of Koeppern, opened here today. The defendants, ranging in age from 21 to 53 years, pleaded “not guilty” to the charge of having attacked, injured and threatened Kurt Sumpf, his wife and eight-year-old son on various occasions last year.

Sumpf, a German-born Israeli citizen, returned with his family to Germany in 1956 and leased a cafe in Koeppern. After the attacks on himself and his family and a boycott of his cafe, he was forced to sell his business and move to Frankfurt. The defendants accused of the attacks include a policeman and a soldier in the new West German army.

Sumpf told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that he had reason to believe that his economic competitors had started the anti-Semitic agitation against him in order to force him to sell out at a low price, Sumpf told the court that when he first leased the cafe he was told that “his bones would be broken” and that his son would have “difficulties in school.”

In his testimony before the court here, the Mayor of Koeppern, George Velte, declared that “only rowdies and drunkards, including the local football hero, participated” in the attacks. He said the “respectable citizens did not take part. “Koeppern is a quiet community,” the Mayor testified, “whose citizens today condemn Nazism and anti-Semitism. Since the end of the war, nothing like this has ever occurred, and I am deeply shocked.”

NEXT STORY