Witness Tells Court She Saw Schwammberger Kill Her Husband
Menu JTA Search

Witness Tells Court She Saw Schwammberger Kill Her Husband

Download PDF for this date

An elderly Holocaust survivor from Israel told a Stuttgart court last Friday that she actually saw accused Nazi war criminal Josef Schwammberger murder her husband at a concentration camp in Poland during World War II.

Sarah Ehrenhald, 70, of Tel Aviv said her former husband, Leon Pater, was caught stealing bread for a family member. On the next day, he was shot to death in the main square of the Przemysl concentration camp, where Schwammberger was commandant.

“I watched the execution,” Ehrenhald said. “It was Schwammberger himself, the camp’s commander, who killed my husband.”

According to the witness, the SS officer took pleasure in randomly murdering and torturing Jews and humiliating them. “He was a sadist. For him, killing Jews was just a game,” she said.

Schwammberger, who was extradited from Argentina last year, has been on trial in Stuttgart since June 26. A previous witness, American Holocaust survivor Leo Berger, told the court on Aug. 16 that he never saw the accused kill inmates at the Przemysl or Rozwadow concentration camps, where he was confined.

However, a Canadian survivor, Oscar Hersthal, testified a week earlier that he saw Schwammberger kill prisoners at morning roll call.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund