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Auschwitz Trial Opens in Frankfurt

May 3, 1963 - Twenty-four persons have been charged with the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Jews, at the Auschwitz death camp during World War II, the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office announced today. The charges are the result of a four-year investigation by West German justice authorities. Dr. Hans Grossman (pictured top), chief of the Nazi War Crimes Section of the prosecutor’s office, said 23 of the defendants had been camp officials, and one was a former inmate. The chief defendant will be Richard Baer (pictured bottom on left with Josef Mengele during World War II), 51, the last Nazi commandant of Auschwitz. Near the end of the war, having replaced Otto Förschne as commandant of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in Nordhausen, Baer was responsible for the mass execution of Soviet prisoners by hanging. Baer, who was found working as a woodcutter under an assumed name in December 1960, has been held since. Other defendants are former camp political officers, doctors, pharmacists, guards, and block leaders.


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