DORTMUND, Germany (Oct. 8)
A German war veteran who has made a career of testifying at war crimes trials in such a way as to lessen the sentences against Nazis convicted of murdering Jews during the Hitler era was sentenced here today to two years’ imprisonment for perjury.
The man is August Herder, a Bavarian. During war crimes trials here in 1961 and 1962, he testified: “I saw an SS man executed for refusing to shoot a group of Jews. ” The effect of his testimony was to give the defendants the excuse that they had acted under duress, fearing not to kill Jews lest they themselves be killed. He had testified to the same effect in war crimes trials involving the murder of Jews at Munich, Karlsruhe, and Heilbronn.
The court here found today that he had lied in all these cases. Documentary evidence showed that there were no Jews in Esthonia, where Herder said he served, at the time he indicated and that his unit had not even been stationed in the area he had mentioned in his testimony.