Treblinka Trial Defendants Tell Court How They Became Killers

The 10 former $5 officers and guards on trial for the murder of 700, 000 Jews at the notorious Treblinka Concentration camp gave the court today their own accounts of the events leading up to their employment as members of the Treblinka staff personnel.

Testifying in the second day of the trial, all of the accused said that they had been in some way connected with the Nazi euthanasia program before they came to Treblinka. Nine of them claimed that they had no idea of how they got the infamous jobs, citing sudden telegrams summoning them to Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, where they were given the new assignments.

One of the defendants, a former waiter, told of quitting his restaurant job against his wishes, to become a killer. A former carpenter said he was assigned the task of checking all bank accounts of Jews in northern Italy. An ex-musician described his job of preparing files and photographs of victims he later gassed, while another defendant told the court of traveling from one camp to another to build gas chambers.

Only one of the accused said he was a member of the Nazi Party. None of the defendants was recognized as an SS man when captured by Allied troops at the end of the war.

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