ESSEN (Feb. 15)
Three former members of a special SS Commando unit were sentenced to terms of three to five years at hard labor on conviction of complicity in mass murder in occupied Russia.
The defendants were Kurt Matschke, 57, Eduard Spengnar, 55, and Franz Bormann, 55. They were convicted of having participated in the murder of several hundred Jewish men, women and children in the Klinzy region in Russia in 1942. Albert Rapp, commander of the unit, was convicted in Essen last spring to life imprisonment after an unqualified confession of his guilt.
The Essen jury rejected the plea of the three defendants that they had simply obeyed orders. The jury noted that all three had joined the unit voluntarily but that only one had made any effort to be transferred to some other unit.