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Trial of Nazi General Starts in Vienna; Directed Terror in Belgium

November 30, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Robert Jan Verbelen, a former SS general condemned to death in absentia by Belgium in 1947 for wartime crimes in that country, went on trial here today on charges of participating in terrorist acts and mass murders in Belgium.

Verbelen, who served as wartime deputy to Leon Degrelle, the former Belgian Rexist leader, during the German occupation, fled from Belgium and turned up in Austria in 1945. He acquired Austrian citizenship, taking the name of Isak Meisels under which it appeared he had been an employee of the United States occupation forces in Vienna.

In 1962, the Belgian Government asked for his extradition but the Austrian Government rejected the request because of Verbelen’s Austrian citizenship. Later Austria withdrew his citizenship and Verbelen again disappeared. He returned to Vienna in 1963 and was arrested. Under new Austrian legislation, the crimes for which he was tried in absentia are no longer indictable and he will therefore be tried on the other charges. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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