8 Neo-nazis Go on Trial in Hamburg

A former West German army officer, Michael Kufhnen 25, and seven fellow members in a neo-Nazi group went on trial in Hamburg today charged with disturbing public peace and seriously wounding anti-Nazi demonstrators and passersby.

The incidents occurred in May, 1977 in Hamburg. The prosecution charged that Kufhnen and his militants used weapons to attack their opponents. The group around Kufhnen has been involved for years in anti-Semitic activities in Germany’s largest part city. It has been in contact with Palestinian terrorist groups and with other neo-Nazi organizations in Germany and abroad.

Kufhnen was dismissed from the army after having publicly expressed his anti-Semitic views. He is being held in custody pending the outcome of the trial.

TWO FORMER NAZIS ACQUITTED

Meanwhile, two former SS men, Hans Olejak, 63, and Ewald Pansegrau, 59, were acquitted yesterday by an Aschaffenburg court on charges of murdering 21 concentration camp prisoners. The prisoners were among the 13,000 inmates of Jaworzno, Auschwitz’s largest subcamp, who were evacuated ahead of the advancing Soviet army in January 1945. Less than 1000 of them survived this evacuation.

Since the trial’s start in September 1977, over 150 witnesses have testified. In addition, the court has traveled several times to Poland, Israel, the United States and Australia to gather evidence against the defendants. The court contended that the prosecution failed to present documentary evidence, during the course of the three-year trial that the defendants murdered prisoners “out of a lust to destroy human life.”

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