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Senate Investigating Committee to Check Record of Trial of 30 Buchenwald Defendants

September 30, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Senate Investigation Sub-Committee will look into the records of the trial proceedings for some 30 defendants at the Buchenwald camp trial as it gathers information for the projected investigation into the commutation of the sentence of Ilse Koch, widow of the former commandant of the camp charged with having made lampshades, gloves, and book covers of the skin of camp victim.

If there seem to have been irregularities in the trials or commutation of sentence of the 30 other defendants they will be studied too, a committee aide said today. Before any phase of the investigation can proceed, however, committee members have to read through the 9,000-page trial report, he said. He added that Sen. Homer Ferguson of Michigan, chairman of the committee, had given aides explicit instructions to make a thorough check of all the facts before he left yesterday for Michigan.

The committee yesterday opened its investigation of the Koch case with a closed hearing at which Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall and William D. Denson, chief prosecutor at the Buchenwald trials, appeared as witnesses. Royall told reporters on leaving the hearing that he had asked General Lucius D. Clay, European theatre commander to see if other charges could be found on which to try Frau Koch.

Denson said, on leaving the hearing, that he thought the original sentence was justified. He said he did not think the review board had any right under the judicial process to question the credibility of trial witnesses. This, he said, was a function that should rightfully be reserved for the trial board itself.

After the first hearing Sen. Ferguson said that more hearing would be hold on the Koch case. Although yesterday’s session was secret open hearing have been promised.

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