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Infamous Nazi Leaders Await War Crime Trials

N.Z.P.A. Special Correspondent Rec. 10 a.m. LONDON, Aug. 3. PUBLIC interest in the trial of Petain, the arrest of Laval and, in England, the appearance in the courts of William Joyce and John Amery, together with the approaching trial of the Belsen guards has intensified speculation on what will be done with what are known as the "major" German war criminals now held by the Allies. When will their trial begin?

It can be said at once that there is no definite decision at the moment but that an important announcement is likely to "be made within a few days. For five weeks now, representatives of Britain, America, Russia and France, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, United States, have been meeting in London to create an international tribunal to try "major criminals whose offences have no particular geographical localisation, and who will be punished by a joint decision of the Governments of the Allies," but certain difficulties have been encountered.

Language Question These apply to the language question since trials by such tribunal would have to be conducted in English, Russian, French and German, to differing legal concepts of the four countries concerned and in deciding upon procedure. It is believed that if no agreement can be reached to establish a tribunal, then each country may set up its own court to try those major criminals which each has in custody. The general weight of opinion is in favour of an international tribunal, but there is an equal desire that the trials should not be delayed much longer. If within the next few days no agreement is reached in London, then a decision will be made for each country to go ahead with separate trials. If a tribunal is formed, then the trials may take place in Nuremburg. Delegates of Britain, America and France visited Nuremburg — the Russians were unable to be present, although of course they were invited —and inspected the Nuremburg Opera House and the Court, either of which may be selected. Certain renovations and provisions would have to be made, as for instance, the transport of criminals to the court room, security measures and provision for reporters and cameramen. Some of the Notorious Accused The number of these major war criminals is expected to be anything between 15 and 50, and the first on the list are such men as Ribbentrop and Goering, K. H. Franck, the "Butcher of Lidice," Hans Franck, who was gauleiter of Poland, Streicher, Ley and Bormann. At the moment Russia and America are said to hold the majority of the major German war criminals. The Americans, for instance, have Goering and Ribbentrop in their custody, and Russia is believed to have Bormann. Goering, Ribbentrop and a number of prominent Germans are in an American camp near Luxemburg, including Doenitz, Jodl, Keitel, Kesselring, Blaskowitz and von Krosigk. There also are von Papen, Horthy. Seyss Inquart, Erick, Von ' Epp, Rosenburg, Darre, Funk, Bohle, Streicher and Ley. How the "Big Shots" Live

The Daily Telegraph correspondent, who visited the camp, said that contrary to a report published in France, none of these men was living in luxury. Their meals are: Breakfast, bread, biscuits and cocoa; dinner, soup, beans, hash, potatoes, beetroot, salad, rice; supper, stewed Deans, bread and coffee. They eat their meals off plain crockery. Their only implement is a spoon, at which Doenitz is said to have been very annoyed. All precautions have been taken against suicide, and all mirrors and light globes have been removed. All current is turned off and glass in the windows has been replaced by a substitute. The prisoners are allowed neither ties, shoes, belts or braces. They are shaved daily by professional barbers. They have hot water only on Saturday. In addition to 50 "big shots" there are also about 200 others, who receive precisely the same rations. No saluting is permitted and when the commandant or a distinguished visitor passes the prisoners must rise and stand to attention. The correspondent saw Kesselring and Goering, whose weight has been reduced from 10 stone to 17 stone 51b. Kesselring is a model of neatness. A German doctor said there was nothing seriously wrong with Goering, who now is refused injections of drug derived from opium. They were wearing uniform as were Keitel and Jodl. Ribbentrop and Prince Philip of Hesse, both have been rebuked for having untidy rooms. "Social groups have been formed round Goering and another round Doenitz. Streicher, the Jew baiter, i and Ley are ostracised and keep each other company. Lecture on Punishment ■ Dr. Bohuslav Ecer, who is chief of the Czech Legal Service, recently gave a lecture on mentality and punishment of war criminals after he had interrogated five .including Ribbentrop. He said: "They all behaved very politely. I think they are trying to show that they are cultured and educated and are'manifesting some human feelings. Sometimes they become emotional and weep, but the reason is 'simple'— fear.

"They are cowards or, as the Americans say, yellow. Ribbentrop could hardly conceal his emotions when I told him he had been on the list of war criminals since June 1944. It was a shock to him. He declared that his role in the Reich was as an instrument of the plans and ideas of the Fuehrer." Ribbentrop said he did not agree with the occupation of Prague but did not resign because the possibility of resignation did not exist in the Third Reich. If he had, he would have been put in a concentration camp. Dr. Ecer said he had told Ribbentrop that Goering said Ribbentrop was for war and Goering for peace He became excited and saw Goering and there was a sharp argument between them. Dr. Ecer added that "the criminals will be unmasked before the Court. They will reveal themselves before the German people as bandits, yellow and cowardly criminals. They will accuse each other before the Court as gangsters and criminals. Let them be tried as quickly as possible." J

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Bibliographic details

Infamous Nazi Leaders Await War Crime Trials, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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Infamous Nazi Leaders Await War Crime Trials Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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