Conductor of Israel Opera Orchestra Charged with Aiding Nazis

Hirsch Berenblatt, conductor of the Israel Folk Opera Orchestra, denied today charges of participating in rounding up Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and handing them over to the Gestapo for extermination.

According to the charge sheet, Berenblatt served as head of the Jewish police in occupied Poland and in that capacity rounded up 7,500 Jews and helped the Gestapo put them on trains which took them to Nazi death camps. He was further accused of rounding up scores of Jewish children from orphanages and handing them over to the Gestapo. Another accusation was that he took money from Jews under threats to turn them over to the Gestapo if they refused to pay.

In denying the charges, the Jewish musician said that two Polish courts had completely cleared him of all charges of collaboration with the Nazis. The charges were based on testimony of various survivors. The musician asked for a preliminary hearing.

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