Italy Expels Former Nazi Officer Charged with Killing 56,000 Jews

Ehrhard Kroeger, a former SS officer whose extradition to West Germany was refused last year by a Bologna court and who has been living in Italy since, was reported by Italian police today to be in West Germany.

If that report is accurate, officials said, Kroeger would be among the most important witnesses in the scheduled trial of former Dusseldorf Gestapo chief Herbert Weygandt, who was arrested last week in Wuppertal, living under an assumed name. Weygandt, 59, faces trial on charges of giving and signing an order for the deportation of some 6,000 Jews in North Rhineland-Westphalia and in the murder of 50,000 Jews in occupied Lodz in Poland.

Officials said that Kroeger was accompanied last Monday by Italian police officers to an express train leaving Bolzano for West Germany and that, two hours later, the train carrying Kroeger crossed the Austrian-Italian border at Brenner pass.

They added that this procedure pointed to expulsion, rather than to voluntary departure or extradition, as some contradictory press reports had indicated. The West German Embassy in Rome said it had no information about a renewed extradition request and the West German Consul in Milan said that the only request it had received in the matter was a query from Dusseldorf public prosecutors about Kroeger’s whereabouts.

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