MUNICH (Jan. 22)
Karl Wolff, former general in the Nazi Waffen S.S., and one of the topmost aides to the late Heinrich Himmler, chief of Hitler’s secret police, has been arrested and is being investigated as to his responsibility in the deportation of approximately 70, 000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Nazi death camps, it was announced here today by the information office of the Bavarian State Government.
In addition to the specific charge of participating in the deportation of the Warsaw Jews, Wolff is held under “suspicion” of having participated in the mass murder of an unspecified but large number of Jews in Eastern European countries occupied by the Nazi armies during World War II.
Wolff has been living in Bavaria, engaging in business, and drawing a pension as a former general. While he was never tried for his role in the “final solution” of the Jewish problem through their annihilation, he did serve a prison sentence after being convicted by a German court for participating in medical experiments on human beings, including Jews, at the Dachau concentration camp; Given a four-year labor camp sentence, he was released in 1949.
During the Nuremberg War Crimes trials, Wolff testified that “Hitler knew nothing about the murder of the Jews. ” He made this statement as the person who at times during the Nazi regime acted as liaison officer between Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, chief of the notorious Gestapo which directed the mass-annihilation of the Jews in territories held by the German Army.
About 18 months ago, the Documentation Canter on Nazi Crimes, at Haifa, Israel, announced it had found among its archives a letter written by Wolff, during the war, addressed to German railroad authorities. In the letter, Wolff had congratulated the railroad officials for their “successful operation in transferring 5, 000 Jews daily to Treb-linka,” one of the most notorious of the Nazi death camps; Israeli officials then requested the West German Government to arrest Wolff.
Wolff was well known to highest Allied military authorities during the closing days of the war. He was credited with being instrumental in the surrender of 1, 000, 000 German troops in Italy to the Allied forces in May of 1945.