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Trial of Eichmann’s Aide Completed in Germany; Charged with Killing Jews

July 11, 1962
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The prosecution and defense completed their presentations today in the trial of Otto Hunsche, 50, a former wartime aide to Adolf Eichmann charged with complicity in the murder of 1,200 Hungarian Jews in 1944. The prosecutor demanded a term of life imprisonment at hard labor for Hunsche, the stiffest penalty for maximum crimes under West German law. The verdict is expected before the end of the week.

The prosecution had contended that Hunsche, as an attorney, had been closely connected with Eichmann’s office, the Gestapo’s Bureau for Jewish Affairs, and had knowledge of the Nazi plan for the “final solution” of the Jewish situation. It stressed that in 1941 he had taken part in the Wansee conference at which mass murder of Jews was decided on as “the final solution” of the Jewish question.

Dr. A. Laternser, Hunsche’s defense counsel, asked for acquittal, contending that there was “default of proof” of the charges. He added that Hunsche had already served two years when he was convicted by a Recklinghausen court in 1947 for his activities as a member of the Gestapo. He has been practicing law in Westphalia since he was released from prison in 1949.

A former Hungarian legislator, Dr. Brody, who now lives in Brazil, testified today that Hunsche was also responsible for the murder of an additional 300 Jews who were deported from Sarva to Auschwitz. Dr. Brody’s testimony was supported by that of another prosecution witness, Philip von Freudiger, formerly president of Budapest’s Jewish community and a member of the Jewish Council there. Mr. von Freudiger, who succeeded in fleeing to Rumania, also charged that Hunsche blocked any action to rescue the Jews marked for deportation.

Among those present in the courtroom during the trial were Anne Kethly, president of the Social Democratic party of Hungary and Yoel Brand of Israel, a major witness in the Eichmann trial.

A sidelight of the final day of the trial was an interruption from a man in the audience, who yelled “I represent the nationalist press. Not murder but revenge is at stake in this trial.” The prosecutor demanded immediate arrest of the man and the court agreed and imposed a three-day sentence on him, effective immediately. When the man was removed by court attendants, he raised his arm in a Nazi salute.

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