VIENNA (Nov. 23)
The claim by Franz Novak, former SS officer and transport officer under the late Adolf Eichmann, that he did not know that the Auschwitz concentration camp had been in fact a death factory for the murder of millions of Jews, was disputed today in the court where Novak is being tried on charges of aiding the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews.
The witness, who told the court that Novak could not have been ignorant of the fate awaiting Jews at Auschwitz, was Elli Linger, of this city, who had been an inmate at Auschwitz in 1943. He assured the court that “every SS man, from the lowest rank to the highest, knew what happened to Jews at Auschwitz.” “It is impossible,” he said, “that this man, who transported 4,500,000 people to a place where there was room for only a half million, did not know what happened to the rest.”
Another witness, Alexander Brody, who was a member of the Hungarian Council of Jews in 1944, testified that Novak reversed an order from Admiral von Horthy, the Hungarian dictator, who had ordered a trainload of Jews destined for Auschwitz to be brought back to Camp Kistarcsa. Mr. Brody said Novak came to the camp and ordered the train to continue its trip to Auschwitz, despite the von Horthy order. He said also that Novak knew Jews were being gassed at Auschwitz. Novak, however, insisted in the courtroom that he had never been at Camp Kistarcsa.