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Former Nazi Goes on Trial; Proceedings Against Another Dropped

December 8, 1971
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An SS deputy commander for death camps in Eastern Poland during World War II will go on trial in Vienna shortly, it was learned today. But a West German court has ordered proceedings dropped against another ex-Nazi accused of war crimes for reasons of health. Austrian authorities arrested former SS Sturmbandsfuhrer Ernst Lerch last September in Klagenfurt, a village where he lived for nine years under his own name and ran a cafe. During the war, Lerch was a deputy to the notorious Odilo Globoznik who ran the death camps in Eastern Poland and killed himself shortly after the Nazi defeat.

Another of Globoznik’s deputies, Helmut Pohl, has also been jailed. Lerch had connections in high places and was unmolested until a dossier containing overwhelming evidence against him was presented to the Austrian Prosecutor General who ordered his arrest. In West Germany, seven former Nazis are on trial for complicity in the murders of 30,000 Jews in the Pinsk area of Poland during the war. Alfred Ebener, 58, who was deputy district commissioner of Pinsk between 1941-42, was excused Friday after his counsel presented medical certificates stating that the accused could not stand trial because of his poor state of health.

The court refused to rule against a new trial for Ebener in the future. Proceedings are continuing against Johann Kuhr, 55, Heinrich Plantius, 57, Walter Gross, 60, Rudolph Eckert, 57, Heinrich Teltz, 55 and Adolf Petsch, 66, all accused of the same war crimes. Observers here said that if convicted the six were not expected to get more than a few years in jail and that the principal defendent, Ebener, probably would go free.

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