AMSTERDAM (Nov. 7)
Public Prosecutor Frans Habermehl demanded a life sentence today for Dutch millionaire Pieter Menten accused of complicity in the killing of at least 160 persons, mostly Jews, in Podhorodze and Uryce villages in the Lemberg region of Poland in July and August, 1941. Menten was then serving in a Nazi SS unit.
Habermehl said that the evidence against the 78-year-old art dealer was incontrovertible. He noted that he was present last spring when the remains of the victims were exhumed at the villages which are now in the Soviet Ukraine. Most were women and children.
The Menten trial began last May, was adjourned during the summer and resumed three weeks ago. Witnesses from several countries including Israel, Sweden, West Germany and the U.S. supported testimony from Poland and the Soviet Union that Menten played a leading part in the mass killings.
The prosecutor said he did not call for the death penalty, allowable under Holland’s special war crimes legislation, because so much time has passed since the killings. He suggested that Menten’s motives were less anti-Semitism than a lust for power and money. He also recommended that Menten’s art collection, seized by the authorities last year, be returned to him because it is unconnected with the present charges. A verdict in the case is expected by Dec. 14.