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3 to Be Tried for War Crimes

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Three former SS leaders are due to stand trial in Kiel, West Germany for crimes committed during World War II in Belgium. The three are former SS Col. Konstantin Canaris, SS Lt. Col. Ernst Ehlers and SS Lt. Kurt Asche. Canaris, 70, a distant relative of Admiral Canaris who was the head of the Nazi German military intelligence, is charged with having helped Ehlers to deport 20,000 Jews from Belgium and northern France to Auschwitz where they died. Ehlers served as head of the gestapo for Belgium and northern France during the war.

Canaris was arrested in Milan in 1945 and transferred to Brussels where a military court sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment. He was freed and expelled from Belgium in 1952. Ehlers and Asche were never arrested and tried. Belgian Jewish organizations have repeatedly asked the West German authorities to bring them to trial. In May 1975 Jewish demonstrators broke into Ehler’s flat in Munich to draw attention to the fact that he was still free and even drawing a West German state pension as a retired judge.

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