BONN (Jan. 20)
A former SS officer testified today, at a re-hearing of his conviction for wartime murders of Jews and retarded children, that he had been only 24 years old at the time and had “more power than I could handle.”
Whilhelm Doering, former chief of the Criminal Police in Sieburg, near Boon, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by a Bonn court in November 1962. He was convicted on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of 669 Russian Jews and 16 mentally retarded children during the 1941-42 period, when the 46-year-old defendant was an SS lieutenant in charge of an extermination squad.
Doering, who also insisted that “there was no judicial standard by which I could measure my actions,” denied that he had personally killed anyone. He said all executions were carried out by his squad on orders of his superiors. He admitted he had been present at an initial execution of 150 Russian Jews in Rosiawl, in November 1941. In January 1942, his unit killed 100 Jews from the village of Borisov.
Recalling the murders, the defendant testified that none of the victims resisted. “They caused us no trouble. They all went quietly on the edge of a trench they had dug,” he testified. He added that “it got on my nerves because there were women and children among them.”