The defense started today its final plea in the cases of the ten SS “extermination squad” officers accused of mass executions of Jews and others near Tilsit, Lithuania, in 1941. The jury had before it the prosecutor’s demand for life imprisonment for four of the men, and for long-term prison sentences for the remaining six.
The four for whom life sentences were sought are Tilsit Gestapo Chief Boehme, accused of 5,186 murders; Tilsit Security Service Division Leader Hersmann, charged with 1,771 murders; Memel Police Director Fischer-Schweder, accused of at least 727 murders; and Krottingen Police Chief Lukys, charged with 816 murders.
State Attorney Schuele told the jury that the men could not hide behind their pleas of following orders, because the German military criminal code was clear on the fact that a subordinate was not obliged to carry out criminal commands. The men, said the prosecutor, had “fought for the privilege to carry out liquidations and clean-up actions.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.