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Ex-gestapo Chief Who Shot 22 Jews in Poland Gets Heavy Penalty

May 4, 1964
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The heaviest penalty yet imposed on Nazi war criminals–22 terms of life in prison–was fixed this weekend for Hermann Blache, 63-year-old former Gestapo chief of a Polish ghetto. He was convicted of shooting down 22 Jews in the Tarnow ghetto. The life terms, one for each murder, run concurrently. Blache was given an additional six years for complicity in the massacre of an additional 4,000 Tarnow Jews.

Another unique aspect of the trial was a statement by Presiding Judge Wilhelm Aufder-heide to the effect that before the three-week trial began he was one of the many Germans who wished to forget the Nazi past but after studying the documents and history of the trial had changed his mind. He now felt such trials were “vitally necessary.”

Chancellor Ludwig Erhard appearing yesterday before Went Berlin Schoolchildren’s Parliament, was asked whether it was necessary to try war criminals 20 years after the event. He replied that he considered the trials necessary despite a “regrettable delay” which he said was partly due to West Germany’s federal system and the difficulty of getting reliable evidence.

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