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Police Officer Describes in Court the Gassing of Jews at Chelmno Camp

A description of mass killings of Jews by Nazi commando units operating mobile gas vans was given here today by a witness in the trial of 12 former guards of the Chelmno concentration camp where 180,000 Jews were put to death by the Nazis.

The witness, Harry Maas of Luebeck, a former police captain, told the court that he himself was able to avoid taking part in the killings by pretending that he lost his eyesight and was hospitalized two days after he arrived in Chelmno. He described how calmly women carrying their babies entered the gas vans after which he said he heard “banging and crying.” He said “the small children cried longer than the adults.”

Another witness, Wilhelm Goerlich of Pforzheim, a former accountant at Chelmno, testified that members of the extermination commando units received an extra 13 to 18 marks each day and a bottle of brandy every other week.