published 12/02/1980 at 19:25
BONN, Feb. 11 (JTA) – A Cologne court pronounced prison sentences of up to 12 years today on three former Gestapo officials who were closely involved in the deportation of French Jews and others to Nazi death camps during World War II. The defendants, Herbert Martin Hagen, 66, Kurt Lischko, 70 and Ernst Heinrichsohn, 59, will remain free pending the outcome of their appeals, just as they had been free during the course of the trial.
Hagen, who was the personal assistant of the SS police chief in Paris and headed a Gestapo department there, was sentenced to 12 years by Judge Heinz Fassbender. Lischko, one-time head of the Paris Gestapo, drew a 10-year sentence and Heinrichsohn, who had worked in the Gestapo's Jewish Affairs Department, received six years. A panel of three judges and two civilians found them guilty of complicity in the murders of thousands of Jews, Communists and other anti-Nazis who they deported from France.
The sentences were applauded by the several dozen French youths who were in the courtroom, members of the Union of Sons and Daughters of Deportees. Some of them wore concentration camp uniforms and badges bearing the words, "I am a Jew from France." The Organization of Former Jewish Deportees and Resistance Fighters in Paris expressed satisfaction that a German court had finally brought these war criminals to justice.
Judge said all must known
In a two-hour statement in which he reviewed the evidence against the three men and explained the sentences, Judge Fassbender observed that all of them must have realized that death awaited many of the 73,000 men, women and children they deported from France. The main defense during the trial was that the accused were unaware of the fate that awaited their victims.
In the case of Lischka, Fassbender referred to a document entered as evidence which bore his signature and referred to the "total annihilation of Jews." The judge said that while Lischka ranked high in the Gestapo it was not he but Gen. Karl Oberg, Gestapo chief for all of France, who was primarily responsible for the deportations. However, he said, as a trained lawyer, Lischka must have been aware of the massive injustice inflicted on the deportees.
Hagen main culprit
Fassbender said the court considered Hagen to be the main culprit of the three because he served longest in France. Although witnesses described Heinrichsohn as especially brutal in his treatment of children, Fassbender explained that he was given the shortest sentence because, as a sergeant in the SS he was subordinate to Lischka and Hagen.
Heinrichsohn, a member of the Christian Social Union, was Mayor of Burgstodt, a small town in Bavaria at the time of his arrest. The CSU announced today that he has resigned from that post. He was the only defendant who admitted "moral guilt" though he denied criminal guilt on grounds that he was unaware that the deportees faced death.
The trial is probably the last major war crimes trial to be held in West Germany. Considering the ages of the defendants, the sentences may amount to imprisonment for the rest of their lives.
published 12/02/1980 at 19:25