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Ex-guard at Buchenwald Camp, on Trial, Admits to Cruelties

June 20, 1958
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Martin Sommer, one-time Buchenwald concentration camp guard, on trial here charged with the murder of 53 Jews and other camp inmates, denied today having killed any one during his service at Buchenwald.

Testifying in his own defense. Sommer said that he had whipped men and women prisoners on orders, had designed a whipping block which permitted “more efficient” beating and at the same time prevented incidental injury to prisoners, and denied sundry other cruelties charged to him.

His testimony was interrupted by one of the justices who confronted him with testimony at a trial before an SS judge in 1943. At that time, Sommer confessed to brutality in handling prisoners and was convicted by the SS court of this and other charges and sentenced to serve time in Buchenwald. Later he was paroled to serve at the front.

One of the witnesses who followed Sommer, and testified against him, charged that today leaders of the Gestapo and SS are back in office in West Germany. The charge was made by Josef Ackerman, a Munich city official who was once a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

The trial is expected to continue for many weeks, with more than 100 witnesses scheduled to testify.

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