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German Officer Cited As Resisting Deportation of Prezemsl Jews

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A German Jury court at Flensburg, where a former SS leader, Martin Fellenz, was on trial for the mass murder of Jews during World War II in Russia and Poland, was told about a German army officer who stood up against the SS to defend Jews, according to a report here today in the Sunday Observer.

The story, cited to the Jury by the West German Judge presiding at the Fellenz trial as an instance where “a man of character stood up for the cause of human dignity, ” concerned a Lieutenant Albert Battel. The latter, according to the Judge, had been in charge of a Jewish work brigade at Przemysl, in southeast Poland. When the local SS command ordered him to release his Jewish workers, so they could be deported to death camps, he refused. Battel stationed one of his own machinegun detachments at his camp’s end of a bridge, threatening to shoot if the SS men came to get the Jews. The SS retreated, and the Jews were saved–for the time being.

Later, according to the Judge, Battel was punished by being sent to the Russian front, where, subsequently, he was taken prisoner. Battel was released from his Russian prison 10 years ago, and has since died.

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