FRANKFURT (Apr. 27)
After eight years of investigations, two of the late Adolf Eichmann’s principal aides finally went on trial here today charged with murder, complicity in murder, criminal extortion and participation in the deportation of 437, 000 Hungarian Jews, about 300, 000 of whom were annihilated in the gas ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The accused are former SS Lt. Col. Hermann Kruney, Eichmann’s deputy in Hungary; and ex-SS Capt. Otto Hunsche, who was Eichmann’s legal advisor in Budapest. According to the indictment, it was Krumey who had played a major role in attempting to put through the notorious “lives for trucks” deal whereby the Nazis were to receive 10, 000 military trucks from the Allies in exchange for 1, 000, 000 Jews.
As the trial got under way today, the defendants lost some preliminary skirmishes resulting from arguments by their battery of defense attorneys. One argument was that the court here has no Jurisdiction over the case, and the counsel sought a change of venue. The court ruled against that request.
Hunsche’s attorneys charged that he had been placed in “double Jeopardy,” since he had already been tried by a denazification court. Judge Schmidt, presiding Justice of the court, ruled that the denazification proceedings were different from those facing Hunsche in the present trial.
Some of West Germany’s most prominent lawyers are leading the defense counsel lined up on behalf of the two former Eichmann aides. One is Dr. Hans Laternser, one of the key defense attorneys in the Auschwitz-Birkenau trial. Another is Dr. Erich Schmidt-Eleichner, who is probably the most famous defense attorney in West Germany.