BONN (Jan. 16)
A Jewish inmate of the Chelmno murder camp in Nazi-held Poland who was forced to help prepare mass graves testified today that one day when he opened a gas van the bodies of his wife and two children “fell in front of me.”
The testimony was given by Michael Podschlebnik, 55, in the trial in Provincial Court here of 13 former Nazi storm troopers and security police officers on charges of having murdered 170, 000 Jews in the camp during the war.
Podschlebnik, one of the few survivors of the murder camp, testified that though he had begged the SS to kill him, he was selected for work in preparing mass grazes for victims. He testified that 13 to 14 poison gas vans operated daily in the camp, killing 900 Jews daily on the average. The witness now works in a chocolate factory near Tel Aviv.
Another Israeli witness, Simon Srebnik, now a 35-year-old mechanic, broke down and began to weep as he described how he was taken in chains by SS men to a cage together with a number of foxes they had hunted and shot. The session was suspended briefly when the witness was unable to continue.
Mr. Srebnik, in his testimony, also flatly accused Alois Haefele, one of the defendants, with shooting dead a Jewish prisoner named Ber when he found a watch in the prisoner’s pocket. One of the camp rules was that prisoners had to hand over to guards all their belongings, particularly valuables.