Ex-commander of Nazi Camp Charged with ‘bathing’ Inmates to Death

A witness in the trial of Karl Chmielewski, former Nazi SS officer and commandant of the Gusen concentration camp, testified today that Gusen canpiinmates, chosen as “unnecessary eaters” by Chmielewski, were “bathed to death” in sub-freezing temperatures while the camp commander “watched with satisfaction.”

The witness, Franz Cihal, who was a prisoner at Gusen from 1939 to 1945, said that he saw ill-looking inmates selected by Chmielewski “bathed” by SS men for 20 to 30 minutes in the winter of 1940, a treatment which resulted in the deaths of 90 percent of the victims. Mr. Cihal also testified that, in the summer of 1940, prisoners no longer able to work were drowned in a water tank on Chmielewski’s orders.

A second witness, who was not identified by name, said that after a “bath” killing in the winter of 1941-42, nearly 300 bodies were taken to a crematorium. He said that he had to carry away some of the bodies from the camp.

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