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Appeals Court Orders New Jury Trial for Former Norway Gestapo Chief

The high court at Baden Baden has handed down a ruling revoking a five-year sentence imposed on former Gestapo chief Helmut Reinhard by a Karlsruhe court and ordering him retried by a jury.

Reinhard, former head of the Nazi secret police in Norway, was convicted of having deported more than 500 Norwegian Jews to their death at Auschwitz in 1942. He argued during his trial that he had not known that the deportation orders he had signed meant death to the Jews being deported. Both Reinhard and the public prosecutor appealed the district court sentence.

Reinhard had escaped arrest for nearly 20 years by an ingenious device. His wife had him declared legally dead in 1945 and he adopted a new identity. The “widow” then remarried him and they lived undisturbed as respected citizens for nearly two decades.