MUNICH (Jul. 13)
Nazi Germany’s “good general, “former SS Gen. Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff, who escaped trial during the Allied War Crimes proceedings at Nuremberg because he had secretly negotiated the quick surrender of the German army in Italy at the end of the war, went on trial here today on charges of having “supported and guaranteed mass murder” in Poland by facilitating the killing of 300, 000 Warsaw Jews; The indictment alleges also that, in 1941 he had participated in the killing of 100 Jews in Minsk, Russia, in the presence of Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s SS.
Though Wolff had escaped trial at Nuremberg because an Allied officer had dubbed him a “good Nazi general,” he was tried and convicted by a German de-nazification court, and sentenced to four years” imprisonment; However, he was freed after serving one week. He lived in a luxurious villa on a lake near Munich until re-arrested two years ago on the murder charges;
The bill of indictment, presented by the prosecution today, charged that, as head of Himmler’s personal staif, Wolff had managed the transportation of the Warsaw Jews from the Polish capital to Auschwitz and other camps where the Jews were murdered. The indictment called Wolff “a representative of the top leadership of the Nazi regime who carried out Himmler’s and Hitler’s orders in an organized mass-murder action.”
The trial is expected to last at least two months, with 400 witnesses lined up by the prosecution; Wolff himself is expected to take the witness stand tomorrow; The Wolff trial is another in the series of proceedings against alleged Nazi war criminals now under way in West Germany. Twenty-two former top administrators and medical personnel at Auschwitz have been on trial at Franifurt since last December; Two ex-aides of the late Adolf Eichmann, Otto Hunsche and Hermann Krumey, are on trial for having aided Eichmann to murder several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews.