Colonel Franz Magill, a cavalry officer in Hitler’s Elite Guard during the war, admitted in a court at Brunswick today that, in the summer of 1941, he had passed on mass murder orders from Heinrich Himmfer, commander of the Nazi SS, resulting in the death of Jews in Pinsk, Byelorussia.
Magill, now 63, is one of five former cavalry officers who went on trial at Brunswick on charges of murdering a total of 5,200 Jews during the Nazi occupation of Pinsk. Admitting that he had passed on the Himmter order, which called for the shooting of all male Jews and the driving of all Jewish women into the marshes, Magill, however, insisted he had issued such orders “only once.”
Magill was adjutant to Hans Walter Nenntwich, another SS cavalry officer, who is the principal defendant in the Brunswick trial. The three others involved in that proceeding are Walter Bonsheuer, Walter Dunsch and Kurt Wegener.
Meanwhile, here, in the Frankfurt Municipal Council chamber, the 10-week-old trial of 22 former Auschwitz-Birkenau administrators, guards and medical personnel was resumed today after a 10-day recess. On the stand today was Prof. Helmuth Krausnick, an anti-Nazi historian, of Munich, who outlined Hitter’s plans for the annihilation of all of Europe’s Jews. He said Hitler had estimated there were 11,000,000 Jews in Europe, and had aimed at their total liquidation through “a methodical program.” He said the Nazis chose Auschwitz as a major death camp because of its good railway connections and the possibility of sealing off the entire area.
The Frankfurt trial, which adjourned until Thursday, is scheduled to hear testimony that day from an Auschwitz survivor, Hermann Langbein, now living in Vienna and head of an international resistance organization with headquarters in Brussels. Pending his appearance on the witness stand, Mr. Lanbein has issued a demand that the German Medical Association order the disqualification of 24 physicians in this country who, he charges, participated in the Hitler “euthanasia” program. Under the program, about 200,000 persons, most of them Jews, and about 70,000 of them children, were administered “mercy death” injections by German doctors.
Dr. Ernest Fromm, president of the German Medical Association, said today that he has ordered local and regional medical societies to probe the charges against the 24 doctors. Dr. Fromm said that some of them are dead, others have already been barred from medical practice, and a few have retired. However, he pleaded that full investigations will be made of the Langbein charges and declared: “I feet certain that the profession will be cleared following this investigation.”
Tomorrow, at Limburg, a third trial of ex-Nazis will be opened. This proceeding involved originally four doctors charged with heading the “cuthanasia” program. However, of the four, Dr. Werner Heyde, the principal would-be defendant, hanged himself; a second died after plunging from a ninth story window in Cologne last week; and a third has fled the country. Nevertheless, the trial will go on, with only one of the scheduled defendants in the dock.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.