Nazi Torch Bearer to Tell Here How He Helped Burn Reichstag
Menu JTA Search

Nazi Torch Bearer to Tell Here How He Helped Burn Reichstag

Download PDF for this date

Storm Trooper J. Kruse, self-confessed and last surviving member of the Brown Shirt group which under instruction from high Nazis set fire to the Reichstag, will be one of many witnesses who will come from Europe to testify before the American Inquiry Commission when it reconvenes during the first week of October in Washington, Arthur Garfield Hays, member of the Commission, announced yesterday.

The Commission held its first sessions on July 2 and 3 in New York. Its purpose is to examine events and trends under the Hitler regime. The group will be enlarged by the presence of several French and British jurists.


The true story of the burning of the Reichstag, the background of Hitler’s “blood purge” of June 30, the accelerating economic crisis in the Reich, the changes precipitated by the death of {SPAN}Hindenbur#{/SPAN}, and the significance of the presidential “plebiscite” are some of the lines of investigation which it is planned to pursue in public sessions in Washington.

In addition to the escaped, self-confessed Reichstag incendiary, Herr Kruse, the chief Washington witnesses are to include:

Ellen Wilkinson, former member of Parliament, member of the editorial staff of the London Daily Herald, and leader in the work of caring for refugees and victims of German Fascism.

Otto Lehman-Russbueldt, pacifist, former secretary of the German League for Human Rights, author of the expose, “The Bloody International of Heavy Industry”: he is to submit authentic data on German armaments.

Authorized representatives of European, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish organizations, who will submit surveys of measures taken against various religious groups under the German Fascist dictatorship.

Officials of German labor organizations disbanded by Hitler, who will present reports of the economic developments affecting workers and employees.


Foreign members who will sit in the Commission with equal right of examination and equal voice in preparation of reports on testimony taken are:

Sir Stafford Cripps, Parliamentary chairman of the Labor Party.

Sir Slesser, former Lord Justice for England.

D. N. Pritt, Kings Counsellor, former Attorney General of Great Britain.

Gaston Bergery, attorney and Parliamentary leader, formerly of the Foreign Relations Committee of the French Chamber of Deputies.

Maitre De Moro Giafferi, noted French criminal lawyer.

Senator Morizet of France.

Each of these six, it was pointed out, besides being a qualified student of law and legal procedure in his native country, was associated either with the French or the British Inquiry Commission which in 1933 investigated the first outbreaks of terror under Hitler and the burning of the Reichstag.

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