BONN (Dec. 27)
Two former SS men admitted in a Wiesbaden court today that they participated in the mass murder of Jews at Majdanek death camp, near Lublin in 1943-44 but claimed they acted under orders. The two are among five former SS guards who went on trial today for the massacre of 65,000 Jews at Majdanek. Gotthard Schubert. 57, of Wiesbaden, said that on Nov. 19,1943, he was ordered to arrange the shootings of 31,000 Jews. He said the camp inmates were lined up naked and shot with machine guns. He described the act as “terrible” but insisted he was only following orders. His co-defendant, 65-year-old George Hoffman of Limburg, told the court that in 1944 he participated in the shooting of 40 Jews. Two former guards at the Buchenwald concentration camp were freed today although a war crimes court found them guilty of manslaughter in the death of Jewish inmates during the final weeks of World War II. The statute of limitations on war crimes which went into effect last year, precludes sentences for any crime other than willful murder. The court found that the two defendants killed Jews during a march after Buchenwald camp was evacuated in 1945 but could not prove wilful murder.