FRANKFURT (Sep. 13)
The arrest and scheduling of early trials for four Nazi criminals, charged with killing 20,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Byelorussian city of Pinsk during World War II, was announced here today by Prosecutor Heinz Wolff.
The men were arrested at the request of the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg. The four men were either members of Nazi Police Battalion 306 or attached to the SS Security Service in the Pinsk area.
Three of them were public officials. They are Heinrich Plantius, 47, a police chief inspector in Frankfurt; Joseph Kuhr, 46, also a police inspector in that city; and Rudolf Eckert, a similar police official in Hamburg. The fourth man, Adolf Petch, 57, is a worker in Buedingen. The prosecutor said that Petch already had confessed that he personally “shot with his own hand” between 6,000 and 7,000 Jews.
The prosecutor said that in 1942, on orders of Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, about 20, 000 Jews were marched from the Pinsk Ghetto to a spot several miles away where they were all killed.
The arrests came as a great surprise to local authorities who had not been aware of the intensive investigations which had been underway for some time in this area on the Nazi records of the four defendants.
Plans were reported progressing, meanwhile, on the forthcoming trial of Dr. Werne Heyde, charged with having been a key figure in the Nazi euthanasia program during the war. Hesse officials, who will try Heyde at Limburg, announced today that Karl Heinz Zinnall, one of the public prosecutors handling the Heyde case had been promoted to the rank of chief public prosecutor.