BONN (Aug. 22)
Possible trials for 326 more former officials of the Auschwitz death camp, in addition to the 17 found guilty and sentenced last Thursday at the conclusion of the 21-month trial in Frankfurt, were envisaged by the Government here today, as the aftermath of the lengthy Frankfurt proceedings continued to agitate all of West Germany. In ending the trial last week, Chief Judge Hans Hofmeyer gave the maximum sentences permissible under German law–life sentences–to six of the defendants, meted out prison terms ranging from 14 years to three years to 11 others, and acquitted three.
Karl-Guenther von Hase, the spokesman for the Government, announced the plans for the possible trial of 326 more Auschwitz personnel but, at the same time, blamed Communist countries, “especially Russia,” for holding back documentary material that would aid West German investigations of many former Nazis implicated in the mass killing of Jews. He charged that “in Leningrad alone, there are 40 books of records containing the names of Jews killed by the Nazis, but the Russians have not made this information available even to the relatives of the slain.”
A group of opposition Social Democratic deputies, who are assured of re-election on September 19 in the West German Parliamentary balloting, said today that they would introduce legislation in the new Parliament to provide more adequate means for investigation of Nazi war crimes. They said they were moved to take this step by the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt.
Friedrich Kaul, the attorney who represented East German victims at the Frankfurt trial, said today he would appeal the relatively light sentences given by the court to two of the defendants, both of whom had been deputy commandants of the Auschwitz camp. They are Robert Mulka, who was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, and Karl Hoecker, whose sentence called for seven years at hard labor.
The German press, on the whole, praised the court for its “fairness,” the lack of a “show trial” atmosphere, and the fact that, in pronouncing sentence, Judge Hofmeyer rejected the defense claims that the mass murderers of 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 Jews at Auschwitz had “acted under orders of their superiors.”