BONN (Apr. 11)
Bishop Otto Dibelius, in an address over the West German radio network, said today that the Eichmann trial was of “great moral significance to the German people. We will not be able to say that only a few Germans did this.” The Protestant clergyman said that those responsible for the wartime atrocities and mass killings “were human beings out of our midst, of our blood and kind, of our people.”
A 40-minute documentary film, tracing the life of Adolf Eichmann from his birth at Solingen, Austria, to his seizure in Argentina, was shown tonight on the German national television network, coinciding with the opening of the former Gestapo colonel’s trial in Jerusalem.
A pamphlet denying the claim that most Germans knew nothing about Nazi brutalities toward the Jews until after the Second World War, was issued by the Frankfurt municipality. Insisting that all Germans who reached their teens by 1938 were “eyewitnesses of the horror or else heard the screams of the tortured and dispossessed,” the pamphlet declares: “Whoever denies this today is a liar.”
Meanwhile, trials are being held in various parts of Germany, highlighting the country’s interest in prosecuting war criminals. One trial, opened today at Tuebingen, charges two former members of the Tilsitz Einsatz Commando with “complicity in cooperatively committed murder” of several hundred Lithuanians, Jews and others during the war. The men are Richard Wiechert, 56, and Bruno Schultz, 58. They had both been living peacefully in Baden-Wurttemberg, under their own names. Almost 50 witnesses have been summoned to testify against the men.
Another step illustrating government interest in the Nazi past was taken today by the Central War Crimes Commission at Ludwigsburg. The commission issued a list of high-ranking SS leaders “who are known to be dead.” Included in the list is Eichmannes superior officer, SS Group Leader Heinrich Mueller, said to have been killed in Berlin.