TORONTO (Aug. 5)
The deportation hearing of former Nazi scientist Arthur Rudolph resumed here last Wednesday, following a 30-day recess requested by the defense.
Rudolph, 83, who voluntarily gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1984 after the Justice Department began to probe his Nazi past, is seeking visitor’s status in Canada.
But he must prove he is not guilty of complicity in war crimes, specifically those committed at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camp, whose inmates were used as slave labor by the nearby Mittelwerk factory where V-2 rockets were produced.
From 1943 to 1945, Rudolph was a supervisor at the rocket plant. At least 20,000 Dora-Nordhausen inmates died while working there or on other projects.
The camp’s workers included Jews, Russians, Poles, Czechs, French nationals, Italians and at least one American.
Witnesses said Rudolph’s workers were deprived of air, light, food and medical attention.
A recess was granted in the hearing so that the defense could translate the West German government’s inquiry into Rudolph’s wartime activities. That inquiry concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him as a war criminal.
But the Bonn government’s inquiry seems to have yielded conflicting testimony. While one former slave laborer said, “Mr. Rudolph always stood up for us,” others said they were warned not to incur his displeasure or “you have had it.”
Rudolph testified that his reaction to the hanging of “five or six” Dora inmates suspected of planning an uprising was “disgust.”
Rudolph also said he tried to improve the prisoners’ conditions, because if “they were well treated, they would do good work.”
He said no one was worked beyond his or her capacity, and no one was required to lift more than 20 pounds.
Rudolph joined the Nazi party in 1931, two years before Hitler came to power. But he insisted his interest in engineering was “space work, not defense.”