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Nazi Forced Jews to Sing on Way to Gas Chambers, Witness Testifies

March 20, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A description of how Jewish victims at Auschwitz were forced by an SS officer called “a killer” to sing songs while on their way to the gas chambers was given to the court here today as the trial of 22 former Auschwitz-Birkenau administrators and medical corpsmen continued.

The day’s principal witness, Hermann H. Biermanski, who spent five years at Auschwitz, named Wilhelm Boger, one of the defendants, as the man who made the Jews sing on their way to their death. Boger, according to Biermanski, had “a reputation as a killer” even before he had been assigned to Auschwitz.

While the mass trial of the 22 continued, Dr. Joachim Greiff, president of the Frank-furt Provincial Court, announced that a series of other major war crimes trials has been scheduled to open soon. On April 27, he said, Hermann Krumey and Otto Hunsche, both aides to the late Adolf Eichmann, will go on trial here. The indictment against Krumey alleges he was responsible for the death of 437, 402 Hungarian Jews. Hunsche is accused of having been Krumey’s assistant. Hunsche is already serving a five-year prison sentence for complicity in the murder of Hungarian Jews.

On May 25, Dr. Greiff said, two more ex-Auschwitz officers will go on trial. One, Wilhelm Burger, will be charged with having procured the Zyclon-B gas used in the Birke au gas chambers for killing Jews. The second, Josef Erber, has been indicted for having selected prisoners for the Birkenau gas chambers. In addition, Dr. Greiff declare, two batches of 10 ex SS officers each will face separate trials for killing Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz. Still later, former Nazi police officers who had killed many thou-sands of Jews in Pinsk, in 1942, will face another count.

At Cologne, today, Werner Schnonemann, 52, a former SS officer, went on trial on charges of responsibility in the shooting of at least 3,197 Jewish men, women and children, as well as Soviet war prisoners, in Poland and Byelorussia, in 1941. He also faced a second charge of assisting in the shooting of another 800 Jews.

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