Back to Top
AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search

Vitz Archive Notes


Names A-F G-L M-R S-Z


These notes provide additional information to that provided within the Vitz Archive itself, and relate to war crimes against Allied aircrew and SOE personnel by Axis forces or Axis civilians. These notes are from various sources and are provided to assist the reader gaining a fuller picture but they have not necessarily been independently validated by the author of the Vitz Archive, Traugott Vitz.

This page contains many names, dates, locations. To help find the one(s) you're interested in, use our Highlighting facility.
Highlighting will ONLY find entries within this specific page.


Our objective is to provide comprehensive notes on all victims and if you have information we should include then PLEASE contact us via the Helpdesk.


Aaron, Arthur Adrian (WO 235/94)

The death of Trooper Aaron was the subject of a trial by a British Military Court held at AFRAGOLA, Italy, from 27th to 29th March 1946. The accused were Colonello (Col.) Massimiliano Capurso, commandant of PoW camp 53 SFORZACOSTA, and Clemente Fantacci, one of the guards in that camp.

Three fences or wires play a role in the description of the events: The 12 ft outer perimeter wire fence surrounding the camp, an 8 ft barbed wire fence encircling a field inside the camp, and a 1 ft high trip wire following the inner perimeter of the 8 ft fence at a distance of some 3 metres, thus marking an “area of respect“. The guards had orders to shoot prisoners who crossed the trip wire if they did not react to a verbal challenge.

On 24th February 1943, the inmates of the camp were ordered to stay within the field mentioned above because their huts were being disinfested. Prisoners who needed to urinate went to the edge of the field i.e. close to the trip wire. At about 1700 hrs Aaron went to the trip wire for this purpose. The guard Fantacci shot him dead at a range of 60 – 70 yards (prosecutor's version) or 25 yards (one prosecution witness).

The court heard the evidence of four fellow PoWs as witnesses for the prosecution, either in person or in the shape of affidavits. All of them said there had been no challenge by the guard. One said the trip wire was not in good order at the point where Aaron stood, and one said at that point the wire had been trodden into the ground.

Capurso testified in his own defense with respect to the orders he had received and given.

Fantacci testified that he had challenged Aaron, both by word and signal more than three times (this was corroborated by two sentries of the camp at the time of the incident). He maintained that Aaron was not urinating but was bending down and doing something with his hands close to the main fence. The trip wire was, according to him, in good condition at the spot in question.

The court found both accused guilty and passed a sentence of 8 years imprisonment on Capurso and of 15 years imprisonment on Fantacci.

Maj. Gen. Clowes (General Officer Commanding No. 3 District) refused confirmation of the finding and sentence in the case of Col. Capurso but confirmed the finding and sentence in the case of Fantacci, however reducing his sentence to 1 year. It is not known how much time of the reduced sentence Fantacci actually served


Abear, John Francis (WO 235/204 & WO 235/683)


Adams Jr., Franklin W. ((012-1871, 012-1871-1, 012-2000 (Incident 3 of 10))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Adams, Fletcher Eugene (12-1422)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Allen, Cecil F. (12-1968 & 12-2013)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Anderson, Sheldon Keith (012-1182-1)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Andrews, Stephen J. (012-1993)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Apple Jr., Odis L. (012-1115)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Appleyard, Robert (WO 309/1271, WO 309/1966)


Armstrong, Alexander (WO 235/82 and WO 235/84)

Verbatim trial transcripts available. WO 235_82 Dreierwalde 1 Trial and WO 235_84 Dreierwalde 2 Trial. Please contact us via Help desk


Armstrong, William Armstrong (012-1502)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us vis Helpdesk


Ashe, Christopher (WO 235/185 Gaggenau Trial)

A British Military Court was convened in Wuppertal, Germany, between the 6th and 10th May 1946, the trial record of which may be obtained via Helpdesk (WO 235_185 Gaggenau Trial).

Eleven German nationals were charged with committing a war crime in that they, at Rotenfels Security Camp, Gaggenau, Germany, on the 25th November 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of six British prisoners of war, namely Major D.B. Reynolds, Capt. Gough, Capt. A.R. Whitely-Smith, Parachutist M.A. Griffin, Lieut. G.D. Dill, Gunner C. Ashe, all of 2nd Special Air Service Regt.; four American Prisoners of war, namely Michael Pipcock (sic), Garis P. Jacoby, Curtis E. Hodges, Maynard Latten and four French nationals namely Abbé Pennrath, Abbé Claude, Abbé Roth and Werner Jakob.

Since there were French nationals among the victims, a French Air Force Captain (Capt.) was a member of the court, sitting with one Brigadier (Brig.) four Majors (Maj.) and a Judge Advocate.

The accused were Karl Buck, SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt.) and commander of the Sicherungslager (Security Camp) Schirmeck La Broque (Alsace) and Sicherungslager Rotenfels/Gaggenau, Robert Wünsch, SS-Untersturmführer (2nd.Lt.) and administrative officer at the Gaggenau camp, Karl Nussberger, Oberleutnant (1st.Lt.) in the Police and Commanding Officer (CO) of the police unit responsible for the security at Gaggenau camp, one Karl Zimmermann, SS-Sturmscharführer (Sgt.Maj.) and several police Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) of varying rank, Erwin Ostertag, Josef Muth, Bernhard Josef Ulrich, Heinrich Neuschwanger, Karl Wilhelm Dinkel, Helmut Korb, and Franz Xaver Vetter.

The court heard that during November 1944 at Schirmeck La Broque, prisoners of various categories were held, some of them in the “Block“ (a prison within a prison). When the Allied forces approached, orders were given to move the “Block“ prisoners from Schirmeck La Broque further to the east. The victims named in the charge were transported to Rotenfels/Gaggenau, which was also under Buck's orders.

On the morning of 24th or 25th November 1944, Buck came to Rotenfels/Gaggenau and issued orders to Wünsch that certain prisoners were to be killed. Wünsch related this order to Nussberger who in turn conferred with his subordinates who then started to make the preparations they thought necessary. At 1400 hrs on the 25th November 1944, a van appeared at the camp gate to take the prisoners and their escort, comprising the accused policemen, except for Nussberger, plus four Russian prisoners who had picks and shovels with them.

The lorry drove to a place outside Gaggenau called Erlichwald (Erlich woods). There the accused made the prisoners, in four groups of three and one group of two, dismount from the lorry and walk some distance into the wood where they were shot dead from behind, their bodies falling into a bomb crater. The individuals who did the shooting were Neuschwanger, Ulrich and Ostertag. The bodies were stripped of their clothes and personal effects. The bomb crater was then filled in and the clothes and effects burned on the spot, although in their haste they left several vital clues which later assisted in identifying the remains.

When French troops reached Gaggenau end of April 1945, word of the atrocities reached them fairly quickly, and they ordered the exhumation of the bodies from the bomb crater, using local Nazis as the workforce. Identification was only partly successful, and the victims were reburied in individual graves in the local cemetery on 13th May 1945. On 10th June, Maj. Eric ‘Bill’ Barkworth of the 2nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment arrived and ordered a fresh exhumation. Careful examination of the bodies and graves, together with investigations at the bomb crater site, established the identities of the victims as named in the charge. Maj. Barkworth, in his evidence in court, gave detailed information on the facts and findings upon which he based his identifications.

Ashe, Christopher, Private (Gunner), service number 847426, SAS (Special Air Service). 27 years old. According to www.specialforcesroh.com he was born in the Republic of Ireland and belonged to Operation PISTOL. He was taken prisoner on 23 September 1944.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body found in row 4 grave 7 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 12.

Dill, David Gordon, Lieutenant, service number 265704, originally served with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before joining the SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON and was taken prisoner on 6 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross. 20 years old, son to an officer from South Stoke, Oxfordshire.

He was identified thanks to his service issue wrist watch bearing a number which identified it as having been issued to Lt. Dill. Originally buried in row 4 grave 5 of the Gaggenau Cemetery, he is now buried in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 10.

Gough, Victor Albert, Captain, service number 148884, originally served with the Somerset Light Infantry before joining the Special Operations Executive. He was born 11 Sept 1918 in Hereford. As a member of Jedburgh team JACOB he took part in Operation LOYTON. His group parachuted into the Vosges mountains on 12 August 1944. His last radio message to headquarters dated from 18 September 1944, 1900 hrs. He must have been captured on one of the following days while trying to reach Allied lines. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body found in row 4 grave 9 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 22.

Griffin, Maurice Arthur, Private (Parachutist), service number 873123, SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he served originally with the Royal Artillery before joining the SAS. According to the same source he was born in London, lived in Bristol (his parents residing at Sea Mills, Gloucestershire) and was part of Operation LOYTON. He was taken prisoner some time during Sept.-Oct. 1944. 23 years old.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body exhumed from row 2 grave 5 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 1.

Reynolds, Denis Bingham, Major, service number 130586, originally served with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before joining the SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON and was taken prisoner on 30 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

The body found in grave 3 of row 3, Gaggenau Cemetery, bore his ID tags. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 5.

Whately-Smith, Anthony Robert, Major, service number 113612, SAS (Special Air Service). 29 years old (born in 1915), son of a priest from Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire. According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON, he was taken prisoner on 30 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

The body found in grave 6 of row 2, Gaggenau Cemetery, bore his ID tags. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 2.

The court found all accused, with the exception of Muth, guilty of the charge and rejected their defense of Superior Orders (in this case: Hitler’s Commando Order of 18th October 1942). The court pronounced sentences as follows:

Buck, Neuschwanger, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were to die by shooting, Wünsch got 4 years imprisonment, Dinkel 8 years, Korb 3 years, Vetter 2 years and Zimmermann 10 years. The sentences were confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the British Army of the Rhine on 6th July 1946, but not all of them were promulgated and executed.

The French authorities wanted to try some of the accused in this case for other, similar crimes and demanded their extradition. It is not clear why Neuschwanger was the only one to pay with his life for the murders of 25 November 1944. He was executed in the shooting range adjacent Neheimer Straße, Werl, Germany, by a British firing party on 26th September 1946 at 0800 hrs. It is speculated that he may not have been named on the extradition list.

Buck, Nussberger, Ostertag, Ulrich and Wünsch, but also the acquitted Josef Muth were extradited to the French and stood trial before the Tribunal Général at Rastatt, Germany, in the French Zone of Occupation, from 20th February to 18th March, 1947.

The charge accused them of war crimes under Control Council Law No. 10, committed by murder and ill-treatment of Allied nationals in Security and Work Camps.

Buck, Muth, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were sentenced to death; Wünsch received 1 year imprisonment.

Upon appeal, the (French) death sentences of Buck and Nussberger were commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour. The sentences of Muth and Ostertag were both commuted to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Ulrich’s (French) death sentence was carried out by shooting on 26th August 1947 at 0700 hrs in a gravel pit to the southwest of Sandweier (today part of Baden-Baden).

It is not quite clear at which date the British decided to reprieve Buck, Nussberger and Ostertag and to commute their sentences to prison terms, seeing that (a) the French would not hand the prisoners back any time soon and that it (b) would be very much against British tradition anyway to execute a death sentence years after sentencing.

Buck and Nussberger stood another trial in January 1953 in Metz, in which Robert Wünsch, too, was tried in absentia. All three of them received a death sentence, and again Buck and Nussberger were reprieved, their sentences being shortened to 20 years. Both were released from the British prison at Werl on 9 September 1955. It is not known since when they were back in British custody.

According to archival records, Ostertag was still in prison in 1954.

Otherwise, the final disposition of the sentences for Muth, Ostertag, Wünsch, Dinkel, Zimmermann and Korb is unknown.


Audet, Richard ‘Dick’ Joseph (WO 309/1235)


Austin, Elmore Lathrop (012-2381, 012-1497)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Baldridge, Arlen Richard (No record of a trial)


Banks, Arthur (WO 235_252)



Bastian, Edward J. (No Case number)

Cause of death unknown


Baucom, Hoover Cleveland (012-1742, 012-2000 )

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Berry Jr., Emil (12-1545 (Charge 1))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Beckman, Jack McNider (12-2404)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Bellovary, John Joseph (12-468)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Bengson, Wallace W. (012-1871, 012-1871-1, 012-2000 (Incident 3 of 10))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Benninger, Robert J.


Benson, Sidney Alexander (12-1866)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Berger, Paul L.


Berry, Emil (12-1545-1)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Birkland, Henry (No trial papers)

Henry Birkland (16 August 1917 – 31 March 1944), was a Canadian Spitfire pilot who was taken prisoner during the Second World War. He took part in the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III in March 1944, but was one of the men re-captured and subsequently murdered by the Gestapo.


Birnie, Hugh Waldie (WO 235/547, WO 235/548, WO 309/958)


Bloomfield, Alec Peter


Boardsen, John A. (No trial papers)


Borchick, Frank (012-1368/4)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Borden, Leo Lucca


Borrel, Andrée (WO 235/336)

Andrée Borrel was born in France on 18th November, 1919. She was the daughter of working-class parents, and grew up on the outskirts of Paris. At fourteen she left school to become a dressmaker. In 1933 she moved to Paris where she found work as a shop assistant in a bakery, the Boulangerie Pujo. Two years later she moved to a shop called the Bazar d'Amsterdam.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Borrel moved with her mother to Toulon on the Mediterranean coast. After training with the Red Cross she joined the Association des Dames de France and worked in Beaucaire treating wounded soldiers of the French Army. After France surrendered Borrel and her friend, Maurice Dufour, joined the French Resistance. They established a villa outside Perpignan close to the Spanish border. Over the next six months they joined the network led by Albert Guérisse, that helped British airman shot down over France to escape back to Britain.

In December 1940 the network was betrayed and Borrel and Dufour were forced to abandon the villa and hide in Toulouse. Eventually they escaped to Portugal where Borrel went to work at the Free French Propaganda Office at the British Embassy in Lisbon. Borrel stayed in Portugal until April 1942 when she travelled to London. On her arrival Borrel was taken to the Royal Patriotic School where she was interrogated in case she was a double agent. Although she was known to have strong socialist views she was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a British special agent.

Codenamed 'Denise', Borrel and Lise de Baissac, became the first women agents to be was parachuted into France on 24th September 1942. They landed in the village of Boisrenard close to the town of Mer. After staying with the French Resistance for a couple of days Baissac moved to Poiters to start a new network whereas Borrel went to Paris to join the new Prosper Network that was to be led by Francis Suttill and included Jack Agazarian and Gilbert Norman.

Suttill was impressed with Borrel and despite her young age in March 1943 became second in command of the network. He told the Special Operations Executive in London that she 'has a perfect understanding of security and an imperturbable calmness.' He added: 'Thank you very much for having sent her to me.'

On 23rd June, 1943, the three key members of the Prosper Network, Borrel, Francis Suttill and Gilbert Norman, were arrested. Borrel was taken to Avenue Foch, the Gestapo headquarters, in Paris. After being interrogated she was sent to Fresnes Prison. On 13th May 1944 the Germans transported Borrel and seven other SOE agents, Vera Leigh, Diana Rowden, Sonya Olschanezky, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, Madeleine Damerment and Odette Sansom, to Nazi Germany.

On 13 May 1944, Leigh together with three other captured female SOE agents, Andrée Borrel, Sonia Olschanezky and Diana Rowden, were moved from Fresnes to the Gestapo's Paris headquarters in the Avenue Foch along with four other women whose names were Yolande Beekman, Madeleine Damerment, Eliane Plewman and Odette Sansom (aka Odette Churchil), all of whom were F Section agents. Later that day they were taken to the railway station, and each handcuffed to a guard upon alighting the train. Sansom, in an interview after the war, said:

'We were starting on this journey together in fear, but all of us hoping for something above all that we would remain together. We had all had a taste already of what things could be like, none of us did expect for anything very much, we all knew that they could put us to death. I was the only one officially condemned to death. The others were not. But there is always a fugitive ray of hope that some miracle will take place.'

Some time between five and six in the morning on 6 July 1944, not quite two months after their arrival in Karlsruhe, Borrel, Leigh, Olschanezky and Rowden were taken to the reception room, given their personal possessions, and handed over to two Gestapo men who then transported them some 100 kilometres south-west by closed truck to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in France, where they arrived around three in the afternoon. They were led down to the cell-block at the bottom of the camp by SS men and held there until later that night. They were initially together but later put into individual cells.

Through the windows, which faced those of the infirmary, they managed to communicate with several prisoners, including a Belgian prisoner, Dr Georges Boogaerts, who had passed one of the women (whom he later identified as Borrel from a photograph) some cigarettes through the window. Borrel threw him a little tobacco pouch containing some money.

Albert Guérisse (a Belgian army physician who had helped set up an escape organization in Marseille), whose PAT escape line Borrel had been part of and known her, recognized Borrel but had only managed to exchange a few words with another one of the women before she disappeared, who had said she was English (Leigh or Rowden). At the post-war trial of the men charged with the murder of the four women, Dr. Guérisse had stated that he was in the infirmary and had seen the women, one by one, being taken from the building housing the cells (Zellenbau) to the crematorium a few yards away. He told the court:

'I saw the four women going to the crematorium, one after the other. One went, and two or three minutes later another went. The next morning the German prisoner in charge of the crematorium explained to me that each time the door of the oven was opened, the flames came out of the chimney and that meant a body have been put in the oven. I saw the flames four times.'

The prisoner Dr. Guérisse referred to was Franz Berg, who assisted in the crematorium and had stoked the fire that night before being sent back to the room he shared with two other prisoners before the executions. The door was locked from the outside during the executions, but it was possible to see the corridor from a small window above the door, so the prisoner in the highest bunk was able to keep up a running commentary on what he saw. Berg said:

'We heard low voices in the next room and then the noise of a body being dragged along the floor, and he whispered to me that he could see people dragging something along the floor which was below his angle of vision through the fanlight. At the same time that this body was being brought past we heard the noise of heavy breathing and low groaning combined…and again we heard the same noises and regular groans as the [next two] insensible women were dragged away.

The fourth, however, resisted in the corridor. I heard her say 'Pourquoi?' and I heard a voice as I recognized as the doctor who was in civilian clothes say 'Pour typhus'. We then heard the noise of a struggle and the muffled cries of the woman. I assumed that someone held a hand over her mouth. I heard the woman being dragged away too. She was groaning louder than the others. From the noise of the crematorium oven doors which I heard, I can state definitely that in each case the groaning women were placed immediately in the crematorium oven.

When [the officials] had gone, we went to the crematorium oven, opened the door and saw that there were four blackened bodies within. Next morning in the course of my duties I had to clear the ashes out of the crematorium oven. I found a pink woman’s stocking garter on the floor near the oven.

The women were told to undress for a medical check and have an injection for medical reasons by a doctor, which was in fact what was considered a lethal 10cc dose of phenol. More than one witness talked of a struggle when the fourth woman was shoved into the furnace. According to a Polish prisoner named Walter Schultz, the SS medical orderly (Emil Brüttel) told him the following: 'When the last woman was halfway in the oven (she had been put in feet first), she had come to her senses and struggled. As there were sufficient men there, they were able to push her into the oven, but not before she had resisted and scratched [Peter] Straub's face.' The next day Schultz noticed that the face of the camp executioner (Straub) had been severely scratched.

Only the camp doctor (Werner Rohde) was executed after the war. The camp commandant (Fritz Hartjenstein) received a life sentence, while Straub was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Franz Berg was sentenced to five years in prison.

We salute the heroines of SOE!!

See Leigh, Vera • Olschanezky, Sonya • Rowden, Diana

See also: tribute to Violette Szabo GC on this site

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_336 Struthof-Natzweiler Case No I. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Boynton, Robert H. (12-1542)

Review and Recommendation paper, 12-1542 available. Please contact Helpdesk


Brady, William Alvin (WO 235/217)


Brainard, Newell W. (12-551 and 12-1915)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Braswell, Homer Hildred (12-1949)

Identification (yet unconfirmed) according to "Losses 8th & 9th Air Forces, Stan D. Bishop & John A. Hey"

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Brennan, Lawrence William


Brent, Donald Eugene (12-1418)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Brettell, Edward Gordon (WO 235/573)

Verbatim trial transcript available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Brocious, Harold D.

Harold Dwight Brocious, Corporal a. A. F., 33709389 Born July 16, 1925 at Dayton R.D.I, Pa. Attended Dayton Vocational High School. Enlisted in the Army Air Force in Sept. 1943 & was called to training on Dec. 4, 1943. During his training he was stationed at Gulfport, Mississippi; Barksdale Field, Louisiana; Tynsdale Field, Florida & Chatham Field, Georgia. In Nov. 1944 he was transferred to Mitchell Field, New York. One Dec. 4, 1944 he was transferred to the 15th Air Force & sent overseas, where he was assigned to the 484th Bombardment Group, 826th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) stationed in Italy. He was assigned as a nose gunner on a B-24 Bomber. He was on his 15th mission against the enemy, after flying 107 hours of combat, when his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire during a bombing raid over Graz, Austria. After having parachuted to safely to the ground, he was murdered by a German Soldier. He was buried in Central Cemetery, Braz, Austria, but later moved to the U.S. Military Cemetery at St. Avold, France. Awards: Purple Heart, Air Medal with 2 clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Citation of Honor.

Former Army pilot recalls little-known WWII tragedy, the mates who didn't make it: Jonathan M. Pitts: Baltimore Sun

It promised to be an easy mission the morning of March 4, 1945 — or as easy as a long-range bombing raid inside Nazi territory in the waning weeks of World War II could be.

The weather was perfect for the flight from Italy across the Alps into southern Austria. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. MacDonell Moore and his B-24 crew had carried out a dozen similar runs under harsher conditions. No German warplanes had been spotted.

"We were happy before we took off, because this was to be our last mission before going to a rest camp in a few days," says Moore, 91, of Catonsville.

But the instant they dropped their bombs, all hell broke loose.

A cannon shell smashed into the B-24's nose; a second sheared a wing. Moore took the time to help five buddies leap from the flaming aircraft before forcing himself out through its bomb bay at more than 22,000 feet.

Had he not delayed his jump by those few seconds, Moore would likely have floated to earth near the four crewmates who would be paraded before crowds of civilians and then shot to death. They were victims of Fliegerlynchjustiz — "lynch justice for fliers" — a campaign ordered by the Nazi high command that historians are only now bringing to light.

Moore would live through the day, one of two members of the B-24 crew to survive. In the following weeks and years he'd learn little about what really happened. But a team of Austrian historians has studied the incident for years — and will share its findings Monday at a memorial ceremony at the site of the executions.

Moore is too infirm to make the trip. But he says he's deeply grateful for the public nod to a group of men whose sacrifices might otherwise be lost to history.

In his Catonsville home, he adjusts himself in his favorite overstuffed chair.

"They're worth remembering," he says.

Like many who have been in combat, MacDonell "Mac" Moore has rarely spoken of his wartime experiences. Even family members are just learning the details.

Those who do hear the stories say they'd make a spine-tingling movie — if only the details were less hard to believe.

He was born to a well-to-do family in Danbury, Conn., on March 12, 1925. He recalls enduring no special hardships during the Great Depression. He was gifted in school and played hockey, football and golf.

"I wouldn't change a thing on that front," he says, and smiles in the direction of the former Betty Ann Fennell, sharp and bright-eyed at 92.

When a team of Army Air Corps recruiters came to Danbury looking for potential pilots in 1943, they told young Mac he was qualified for a special training program even though he hadn't been to college.

Eager to join the war effort, he signed on.

"Much to his surprise, and my grandmother's dismay, he was called to duty two months before high school graduation and left for basic training in Biloxi, Miss.," says the couple's son, MacDonell "Don" Moore III.

Within 18 months, Mac Moore had learned to fly the heavy B-24 Liberator bomber, become commissioned as an officer, bonded with the men who would become his crew, and married Betty Ann at an Army airfield near his final training stop in Savannah, Ga.

By Dec. 16, 1944, the 10 airmen — part of the 484th Bombardment Squadron of the 15th U.S. Army Air Force — had relocated to an Allied airbase in Cerignola, Italy, staging ground for an intensive campaign of bombing missions aimed at military, industrial and transportation targets in the southern part of the Third Reich.

Lead pilot James Crockett, 24, also a second lieutenant, thought so much of Moore's skills that he had the 19-year-old serve as pilot for half his crew's first dozen runs.

All were dangerous forays toward such heavily guarded Austrian centers of industry as Vienna and Linz.

Moore's tone in recalling them is as calm as he must have been in the cockpit.

They returned from one run with 189 bullet holes in the aircraft — a number he says was not out of the ordinary.

"You just hoped the bullets didn't hit you where it counted," Moore recalls.

For their "lucky 13th" mission, the target was a rail yard in Graz, the second-largest city in Austria.

Hair-raising plunge

The feelings of the Austrian people about the National Socialist party and its expansionist aims were deeply mixed.

The Nazis had annexed their nation under the threat of force in 1938. For many, they were hostile occupiers. But by drafting more than a million Austrians into their army, they wedded many to their cause.

It was onto this ambivalent landscape that Moore parachuted on March 4, 1945.

The plunge alone was hair-raising.

His ripcord failed twice on the way down. It opened only when he was 300 feet above the ground. He landed in a shell crater on the outskirts of Graz.

It scared him, of course, when a crowd appeared as if out of nowhere, surrounding him. One visibly angry man pointed a gun at him. Others in the crowd subdued the would-be assailant and dragged him off.

By the time a local cop arrested Moore and led him to a makeshift jail, he didn't know what to think. That night was even more confusing.

Moore listened as men who appeared to be SS officers argued with others in what seemed to be Austrian military uniforms. A man Moore believed was a Graz policeman slipped him a note.

We're Austrians, not Germans, it read. Whatever you do, don't talk to anyone.

"Verstehen Sie?" the man whispered.

Moore nodded that he did understand.

After the Nazis left, the cop and a man who seemed to be an Austrian lieutenant marched the prisoner out of his cell to a crossroads. They handed him his belongings and pointed in the direction of what they said was Yugoslavia.

When they told him to start walking, he obeyed.

"I was sure they were going to shoot me in the back," he says.

He had no way of knowing that four crewmates had met a worse fate less than four miles away.

'It's about remembering'

As a boy growing up in Graz in the 1980s, Georg Hoffmann gave more thought to sports than he did to the air war that had scarred his homeland in 1944 and 1945.

He'd heard the grownups argue about it. Some recalled the Allied airmen as liberating heroes. Others saw them as invaders who killed too many Austrians.

Mostly, he says, they hid their feelings on the matter.

Hoffmann was on his way to soccer practice one day when he noticed an artifact that would bring them to the surface.

It was a small stone memorial, half-hidden near a railroad crossing.

"Here on this place killed a Nacifacist three amerikan pilots," the inscription read in tangled English. "Strassgang March 4, 1945."

What, he wondered, did the words mean? Who had been killed here, and why? The old-timers he asked would go silent, change the subject, or tell him no such killings ever took place.

In time, Hoffmann would know more about what happened that day than those who had survived it — and illuminate its connection to history.

Hoffmann, 37, now a history professor at the University of Graz, and a colleague, Nicole-Melanie Goll, were working with the Austrian government to document the locations of Nazi atrocities a decade ago when they happened on files that contained details related to the fates of Moore and his crew.

They made some of the discoveries at the U.S. National Archives and the University of Maryland at College Park.

The files included something the stone had not: names and photos. It took Hoffmann and Goll five more years to complete the rest of the picture.

By the time Moore had begun his walk through the woods, it turns out, not three but four of the comrades he hoped had found sanctuary were dead, victims of a program conceived by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and authorized by Hitler.

Interviews with witnesses confirmed that Sgt. Levi Morrow of Emory, Texas Sgt. Charles Westbrook of Mississippi.; Sgt. Steven Cudrak of Ford City, Pa.; and Cpl. Harold Brocious of Dayton, Pa., had all landed about three and a half miles south of Moore. The sight of their chutes drew the attention of locals.

Each was surrounded by a crowd of civilians and shot at point-blank range by a Nazi SS officer — at least one man as he begged for his life.

All ended up in a pile of corpses at a place called Strassgang — the railroad crossing where Hoffmann would find the stone.

Under the Geneva Conventions, downed airmen are to be treated as combatants and, if captured, protected as prisoners of war.

No one knows who placed the stone there, or wrote its slightly inaccurate inscription. But Hoffmann has learned it has been vandalized, removed and returned several times since the end of the war.

Seventy-two years later, he, Goll and a team of about 40 high school students in Graz have designed a statelier version, one that would include the name, photo and story of each crew member — and, they hope, spark a fuller, more meaningful discussion of the air campaign over Austria in World War II.

It won't be ready by the ceremony on Monday — the team hopes to raise the funds to complete it by year's end — but they'll be on hand at Strassgang to show the crewmen's photos and read their names aloud at the site.

Officials of the Graz and Austrian governments, the U.S. ambassador to Austria, and members of the Austrian military are scheduled to attend.

"[Our project is] important because for too many years we have ignored the fact that these Allied soldiers have been brutally killed," said Aram Darvishzadeh, a student at Kirchengasse high school in Graz. "The murder of Allied pilots didn't just happen in Graz but in [the] whole [of] Austria. Sometimes the captured were even killed by civilians.

"It's not about blaming ourselves for mistakes our ancestors made. It's about remembering and talking about this topic to ensure that it won't ever happen again."

'Terror fliers'

Moore returned to Danbury after the war, having endured captivity in two Nazi prison camps, a 16-mile forced march, and a succession of narrow escapes that somehow always worked out in his favor, all within a six-week span.

On April 29, 1945, just days before Germany would surrender to Allied forces, he was a prisoner at Germany's largest POW camp, Stalag VII-A at Moosburg, when an armored tank unit attached to Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army shot its way in and liberated the place.

Moore was only feet away when Patton himself rode in, his famous pearl-handled pistol at his side, and gave a speech the Marylander has never forgotten.

"He looked at these thousands of scrawny, dirty, dehydrated prisoners and said, 'You guys look damn good for what you've been through,'" Moore says, and laughs.

He moved to Baltimore with Betty Ann and their three children in 1953. In the years since — working as a salesman, a stockbroker and more — he has become a grandfather to 12, great-grandfather to 14 and great-great grandfather to three.

Hoffmann details the Nazi orders to kill downed airmen in his book Fliegerlynchjustiz, published in 2015.

Goebbels' aim, he showed, was to create scenes in which civilians appeared to be rising up in spontaneous indignation against foreign "terror fliers."

The book details the fates of two other crew members, 2nd Lt. Oscar Ness of Seattle and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Haver of Ohio, both of whom died in the crash. The bodies of two others, 2nd Lt. Henry Bottoms of Margarettsville, N.C., and Sgt. Carl Ober of Elizabethtown, Pa., were never found.

In the 2016 book Missing in Action — Failed to Return, Hoffmann and Goll document the fates of the more than 1,600 Allied airmen who lost their lives when their aircraft went down over Austria during World War II.

At least 70 Americans were executed.

Austrian defense minister Hans Peter Doskovil hailed the work.

"This is an important new contribution that brings a whole group of victims out of obscurity, commemorating their names in Austria," he wrote in the foreword. "It shows how important it is to remember as a way of preventing such events from taking place again."

The Moores met Hoffmann and Goll several years ago when the scholars came to the United States for a reunion of the 484th Bomb Group.

The Moores came away impressed, Mac says, and continue to follow their work.

"I'll be thinking of them Monday," he says.


Brosko, Peter Paul

Son of William and Mary Brosko; husband of Mary Brosko, of Toronto, Ontario.

Buried at Choloy. Choloy is a village and commune in the Department of the Meurthe-et-Moselle, 28 kilometres west of Nancy and some 5 kilometres west of Toul, a town on the N4 road from Paris to Nancy. The village is south of the River Moselle on the minor road (D11B) from Toul to the neighbouring village of Foug. The CHOLOY WAR CEMETERY is 3 kilometres west of Toul on the north side of the D11B road. The Choloy War Cemetery is the last resting place of casualties from the First and Second World Wars and is managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is also the final resting place for many Royal Canadian Air Force members and their families who died while serving in Europe as part of 1 Air Division between 1953 and 1967 and other Service Members serving with NATO in Germany following Canada's departure from France.

Commemorated in Canada's Book of Remembrance


Brown, Donald P.


Brown, Kirby M.


Brown, Jr. George Frederick (012-765)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Brown, Jr. Quince Lucien (No record of a trial)


Bryson, Charles Kenneth Lesbirel (No record of a trial)


Bull, Leslie George


Bundy, Lincoln Delmer (WO 235/560, 235/561, 235/711 )


Burleigh, Hubert W. (012-1299, 012-3193B (3rd of four))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Burman, Dennis Cecil (WO 309/989)


Burnette, Hubert R.


Bushell, Roger Joyce (WO 235/424-432 (Great Escape))


Butlin, Ernest J.

Murder mentioned in the Case No. 12_1813. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Bryson , Charles Kenneth Lesbirel


Brzezowski, Stanley E. (012-1368/4)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Caldwell, Frank A. (012-1395)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Callanan, Michael J.


Carino, Pasquale J. (012-447 (not tried))


Carley, Henry J.


Carlson, Melvin C.


Carter, Lloyd Charles (012-2313)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Carter, Roy Edward (WO 235/345)

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_345 Tilburg Case.pdf. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Casey, Michael James


Catanach, James


Caust, Morris


Cederlind, John A.


Celeste, Charles F. (012-447 (not tried))


Cherrington, Ronald W.


Chinchilla, Francis P. (012-0481, 012-2064)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Chojecki, John M. (012-1745)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers Available. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Churchill, Harold E.

Full transcript of this trial available. Case No. 12_1813. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Christensen, Arnold George


Clark, Kevin G. (WO 235/125)

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_125. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Claude, Joseph (WO 235/185 Gaggenau Trial)

A British Military Court was convened in Wuppertal, Germany, between the 6th and 10th May 1946, the trial record of which may be obtained via Helpdesk (WO 235_185 Gaggenau Trial).

Eleven German nationals were charged with committing a war crime in that they, at Rotenfels Security Camp, Gaggenau, Germany, on the 25th November 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of six British prisoners of war, namely Major D.B. Reynolds, Capt. Gough, Capt. A.R. Whitely-Smith, Parachutist M.A. Griffin, Lieut. G.D. Dill, Gunner C. Ashe, all of 2ndSpecial Air Service Regt.; four American Prisoners of war, namely Michael Pipcock (sic), Garis P. Jacoby, Curtis E. Hodges, Maynard Latten and four French nationals namely Abbé Pennrath, Abbé Claude, Abbé Roth and Werner Jakob.

Since there were French nationals among the victims, a French Air Force Captain (Capt.) was a member of the court, sitting with one Brigadier (Brig.) four Majors (Maj.) and a Judge Advocate.

The accused were Karl Buck, SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt.) and commander of the Sicherungslager (Security Camp) Schirmeck La Broque (Alsace) and Sicherungslager Rotenfels/Gaggenau, Robert Wünsch, SS-Untersturmführer (2nd.Lt.) and administrative officer at the Gaggenau camp, Karl Nussberger, Oberleutnant (1st.Lt.) in the Police and Commanding Officer (CO) of the police unit responsible for the security at Gaggenau camp, one Karl Zimmermann, SS-Sturmscharführer (Sgt.Maj.) and several police Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) of varying rank, Erwin Ostertag, Josef Muth, Bernhard Josef Ulrich, Heinrich Neuschwanger, Karl Wilhelm Dinkel, Helmut Korb, and Franz Xaver Vetter.

The court heard that during November 1944 at Schirmeck La Broque, prisoners of various categories were held, some of them in the “Block“ (a prison within a prison). When the Allied forces approached, orders were given to move the “Block“ prisoners from Schirmeck La Broque further to the east. The victims named in the charge were transported to Rotenfels/Gaggenau, which was also under Buck's orders.

On the morning of 24th or 25th November 1944, Buck came to Rotenfels/Gaggenau and issued orders to Wünsch that certain prisoners were to be killed. Wünsch related this order to Nussberger who in turn conferred with his subordinates who then started to make the preparations they thought necessary. At 1400 hrs on the 25th November 1944, a van appeared at the camp gate to take the prisoners and their escort, comprising the accused policemen, except for Nussberger, plus four Russian prisoners who had picks and shovels with them.

The lorry drove to a place outside Gaggenau called Erlichwald (Erlich woods). There the accused made the prisoners, in four groups of three and one group of two, dismount from the lorry and walk some distance into the wood where they were shot dead from behind, their bodies falling into a bomb crater. One of the French victims, a priest, “tried to break away. He made it 100 yards into the woods before being gunned down.” (Reference: Lewis, Nazi Hunters, p. 254)

The individuals who did the shooting were Neuschwanger, Ulrich and Ostertag. The bodies were stripped of their clothes and personal effects. The bomb crater was then filled in and the clothes and effects burned on the spot, although in their haste they left several vital clues which later assisted in identifying the remains.

When French troops reached Gaggenau end of April 1945, word of the atrocities reached them fairly quickly, and they ordered the exhumation of the bodies from the bomb crater, using local Nazis as the workforce. Identification was only partly successful, and the victims were reburied in individual graves in the local cemetery on 13th May 1945. On 10th June, Maj. Eric ‘Bill’ Barkworth of the 2nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment arrived and ordered a fresh exhumation. Careful examination of the bodies and graves, together with investigations at the bomb crater site, established the identities of the victims as named in the charge. Maj. Barkworth, in his evidence in court, gave detailed information on the facts and findings upon which he based his identifications.

In one case it took years to identify the French victims, but meanwhile it has been established that they were:

Abbé Joseph Claude, born 24 November 1891 at L. Vallois. One of his fellow prisoners called him “the quietest, most God-loving and selfless person in the prison”. (Reference: Lewis, Nazi Hunters, p. 352)

Werner Jakob, born 18 August 1914 at Strasbourg,

Abbé Jean Justin Pennerath, born 14 June 1902 at Barst,

Abbé Joseph Alphonse Roth, born 7 September 1911 at Roppwiller.

The court found all accused, with the exception of Muth, guilty of the charge and rejected their defense of Superior Orders (in this case: Hitler’s Commando Order of 18th October 1942). The court pronounced sentences as follows:

Buck, Neuschwanger, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were to die by shooting, Wünsch got 4 years imprisonment, Dinkel 8 years, Korb 3 years, Vetter 2 years and Zimmermann 10 years. The sentences were confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the British Army of the Rhine on 6th July 1946, but not all of them were promulgated and executed.

The French authorities wanted to try some of the accused in this case for other, similar crimes and demanded their extradition. It is not clear why Neuschwanger was the only one to pay with his life for the murders of 25 November 1944. He was executed in the shooting range adjacent Neheimer Straße, Werl, Germany, by a British firing party on 26th September 1946 at 0800 hrs. It is speculated that he may not have been named on the extradition list.

Buck, Nussberger, Ostertag, Ulrich and Wünsch, but also the acquitted Josef Muth were extradited to the French and stood trial before the Tribunal Général at Rastatt, Germany, in the French Zone of Occupation, from 20th February to 18th March, 1947.

The charge accused them of war crimes under Control Council Law No. 10, committed by murder and ill-treatment of Allied nationals in Security and Work Camps.

Buck, Muth, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were sentenced to death; Wünsch received 1 year imprisonment.

Upon appeal, the (French) death sentences of Buck and Nussberger were commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour. The sentences of Muth and Ostertag were both commuted to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Ulrich’s (French) death sentence was carried out by shooting on 26th August 1947 at 0700 hrs in a gravel pit to the southwest of Sandweier (today part of Baden-Baden).

It is not quite clear at which date the British decided to reprieve Buck, Nussberger and Ostertag and to commute their sentences to prison terms, seeing that (a) the French would not hand the prisoners back any time soon and that it (b) would be very much against British tradition anyway to execute a death sentence years after sentencing.

Buck and Nussberger stood another trial in January 1953 in Metz, in which Robert Wünsch, too, was tried in absentia. All three of them received a death sentence, and again Buck and Nussberger were reprieved, their sentences being shortened to 20 years. Both were released from the British prison at Werl on 9 September 1955. It is not known since when they were back in British custody.

According to archival records, Ostertag was still in prison in 1954.

Otherwise, the final disposition of the sentences for Muth, Ostertag, Wünsch, Dinkel, Zimmermann and Korb is unknown.


Clement, James McVicar (WO 309/1088)


Cochran, Dennis Herbert


Coggeshall, Chester E. (12-1155)

Born 1920 Hyannis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA . Buried Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA PLOT J, 15558

11 January 1944 - Joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron
March 1944 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
April 1944 - Awarded Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
May 1944 - Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
May 1944 - Awarded Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
30 August 1944 - Ended first tour of duty
MACR No. 13866

Assigned to 343FS, 55FG, 8AF USAAF

On the final mission of his 2nd tour he Failed to Return from escorting bombedrs to Salzburg in P-51D 44-15608 'Cape Cod Express' which was hit whilst strafing an aerodrome west of Salzburg. He crashed nearby Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 13866.

Coggeshall with ground crew for his P-51 'Cape Cod Express'


16 April was scheduled to be Capt. Coggeshall's last mission on his second tour.

After action report from his wingman Frank Birtciel: 'Coggy was killed on the last scheduled mission of his second tour. He was leading Red Flight strafing an airfield near Salzburg and destroyed the 190 above. He was hit by flak and bellied in crashing through a building and the airplane was demolished. It was reported that he survived the crash. Believe it or not, he had flown two tours and had not seen an enemy plane in the air. A good high school quarterback and a good pilot. He was highly thought of by all.'

He survived the crash of his aircraft into a small building, but was subsequently executed by August Kobus, Burgermeister of Freilassing, Germany. After being denied medical care and despite the objections of German Army medical personnel, he was taken to a wooded area outside of the town and shot twice in the head by Kobus. Kobus was hanged on a gallows erected in the prison yard of Bruchsal Prison 15-Mar-46.

Awards: DFC (OLC), AM (2OLC), PH.

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Conn Jr., Arthur Alexander


Cook, Eugene D. (012-2058)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Cooke, Arthur William (WO 235/141 & WO 235/683)


Costello, George Arnold (WO 235/347)

Hundreds of photos from the WO file at Kew are available, including handwritten minutes taken during the trial (139 p.) and investigation notes. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Cothran, Charles Bluford (No record of a trial)


Couch, William M. (012-1086, 012-1145)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Cowgill, John W. (012-0551, 012-0551-1, 012-1915)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Cox, Joseph A. (008-0027)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Crary, Willard D.


Crawley, Joseph P.

Full trial transcript of this trial ("Bolzano Gestapo Case") is available via helpdesk


Cross, Ian Kingston Pembroke


Crossley, Ernest (WO 235/351)

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_351 Solingen Case. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Crow, Arthur Maurice


Cruse, Leroy Desmond (012-1967)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Cudrak, Steven

See Brocious, Harold


Cummins, Peter Maurice


Cuthbertson, Frederick William


Czarnecki, Zigfryd Valentino (012-3121)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


D'Avril, Jean-Maurice


Dale, James E.


Danno, James W. (012-0489, 012-0489-1)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Dater, Harvey (012-1034, 012-3193B)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Davis, John Clement (WO 235/205 and WO 235/153)



Delavan, Robert E. (012-1247)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Dennerle, Almo Wilson (012-851)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Dennis, James Gordon (No case number)


Dill, David Gordon (WO 235/185 Gaggenau Trial)

A British Military Court was convened in Wuppertal, Germany, between the 6th and 10th May 1946, the trial record of which may be obtained via Helpdesk (WO 235_185 Gaggenau Trial).

Eleven German nationals were charged with committing a war crime in that they, at Rotenfels Security Camp, Gaggenau, Germany, on the 25th November 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of six British prisoners of war, namely Major D.B. Reynolds, Capt. Gough, Capt. A.R. Whitely-Smith, Parachutist M.A. Griffin, Lieut. G.D. Dill, Gunner C. Ashe, all of 2nd Special Air Service Regt.; four American Prisoners of war, namely Michael Pipcock (sic), Garis P. Jacoby, Curtis E. Hodges, Maynard Latten and four French nationals namely Abbé Pennrath, Abbé Claude, Abbé Roth and Werner Jakob.

Since there were French nationals among the victims, a French Air Force Captain (Capt.) was a member of the court, sitting with one Brigadier (Brig.) four Majors (Maj.) and a Judge Advocate.

The accused were Karl Buck, SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt.) and commander of the Sicherungslager (Security Camp) Schirmeck La Broque (Alsace) and Sicherungslager Rotenfels/Gaggenau, Robert Wünsch, SS-Untersturmführer (2nd.Lt.) and administrative officer at the Gaggenau camp, Karl Nussberger, Oberleutnant (1st.Lt.) in the Police and Commanding Officer (CO) of the police unit responsible for the security at Gaggenau camp, one Karl Zimmermann, SS-Sturmscharführer (Sgt.Maj.) and several police Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) of varying rank, Erwin Ostertag, Josef Muth, Bernhard Josef Ulrich, Heinrich Neuschwanger, Karl Wilhelm Dinkel, Helmut Korb, and Franz Xaver Vetter.

The court heard that during November 1944 at Schirmeck La Broque, prisoners of various categories were held, some of them in the “Block“ (a prison within a prison). When the Allied forces approached, orders were given to move the “Block“ prisoners from Schirmeck La Broque further to the east. The victims named in the charge were transported to Rotenfels/Gaggenau, which was also under Buck's orders.

On the morning of 24th or 25th November 1944, Buck came to Rotenfels/Gaggenau and issued orders to Wünsch that certain prisoners were to be killed. Wünsch related this order to Nussberger who in turn conferred with his subordinates who then started to make the preparations they thought necessary. At 1400 hrs on the 25th November 1944, a van appeared at the camp gate to take the prisoners and their escort, comprising the accused policemen, except for Nussberger, plus four Russian prisoners who had picks and shovels with them.

The lorry drove to a place outside Gaggenau called Erlichwald (Erlich woods). There the accused made the prisoners, in four groups of three and one group of two, dismount from the lorry and walk some distance into the wood where they were shot dead from behind, their bodies falling into a bomb crater. The individuals who did the shooting were Neuschwanger, Ulrich and Ostertag. The bodies were stripped of their clothes and personal effects. The bomb crater was then filled in and the clothes and effects burned on the spot, although in their haste they left several vital clues which later assisted in identifying the remains.

When French troops reached Gaggenau end of April 1945, word of the atrocities reached them fairly quickly, and they ordered the exhumation of the bodies from the bomb crater, using local Nazis as the workforce. Identification was only partly successful, and the victims were reburied in individual graves in the local cemetery on 13th May 1945. On 10th June, Maj. Eric ‘Bill’ Barkworth of the 2nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment arrived and ordered a fresh exhumation. Careful examination of the bodies and graves, together with investigations at the bomb crater site, established the identities of the victims as named in the charge. Maj. Barkworth, in his evidence in court, gave detailed information on the facts and findings upon which he based his identifications.

Ashe, Christopher, Private (Gunner), service number 847426, SAS (Special Air Service). 27 years old. According to www.specialforcesroh.com he was born in the Republic of Ireland and belonged to Operation PISTOL. He was taken prisoner on 23 September 1944.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body found in row 4 grave 7 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 12.

Dill, David Gordon, Lieutenant, service number 265704, originally served with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before joining the SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON and was taken prisoner on 6 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross. 20 years old, son to an officer from South Stoke, Oxfordshire.

He was identified thanks to his service issue wrist watch bearing a number which identified it as having been issued to Lt. Dill. Originally buried in row 4 grave 5 of the Gaggenau Cemetery, he is now buried in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 10.

Gough, Victor Albert, Captain, service number 148884, originally served with the Somerset Light Infantry before joining the Special Operations Executive. He was born 11 Sept 1918 in Hereford. As a member of Jedburgh team JACOB he took part in Operation LOYTON. His group parachuted into the Vosges mountains on 12 August 1944. His last radio message to headquarters dated from 18 September 1944, 1900 hrs. He must have been captured on one of the following days while trying to reach Allied lines. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body found in row 4 grave 9 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 22.

Griffin, Maurice Arthur, Private (Parachutist), service number 873123, SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he served originally with the Royal Artillery before joining the SAS. According to the same source he was born in London, lived in Bristol (his parents residing at Sea Mills, Gloucestershire) and was part of Operation LOYTON. He was taken prisoner some time during Sept.-Oct. 1944. 23 years old.

Based on his dental records, he was identified as the body exhumed from row 2 grave 5 of the Gaggenau Cemetery. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 1.

Reynolds, Denis Bingham, Major, service number 130586, originally served with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps before joining the SAS (Special Air Service). According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON and was taken prisoner on 30 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

The body found in grave 3 of row 3, Gaggenau Cemetery, bore his ID tags. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 5.

Whately-Smith, Anthony Robert, Major, service number 113612, SAS (Special Air Service). 29 years old (born in 1915), son of a priest from Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire. According to www.specialforcesroh.com he took part in Operation LOYTON, he was taken prisoner on 30 October 1944. On 8 November 1944 he was seen alive in Security Camp Schirmeck-La Broque by a representative of the American Red Cross.

The body found in grave 6 of row 2, Gaggenau Cemetery, bore his ID tags. Today his grave is in Dürnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria, Germany, field 3 row K grave 2.

The court found all accused, with the exception of Muth, guilty of the charge and rejected their defense of Superior Orders (in this case: Hitler’s Commando Order of 18th October 1942). The court pronounced sentences as follows:

Buck, Neuschwanger, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were to die by shooting, Wünsch got 4 years imprisonment, Dinkel 8 years, Korb 3 years, Vetter 2 years and Zimmermann 10 years. The sentences were confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the British Army of the Rhine on 6th July 1946, but not all of them were promulgated and executed.

The French authorities wanted to try some of the accused in this case for other, similar crimes and demanded their extradition. It is not clear why Neuschwanger was the only one to pay with his life for the murders of 25 November 1944. He was executed in the shooting range adjacent Neheimer Straße, Werl, Germany, by a British firing party on 26th September 1946 at 0800 hrs. It is speculated that he may not have been named on the extradition list.

Buck, Nussberger, Ostertag, Ulrich and Wünsch, but also the acquitted Josef Muth were extradited to the French and stood trial before the Tribunal Général at Rastatt, Germany, in the French Zone of Occupation, from 20th February to 18th March, 1947.

The charge accused them of war crimes under Control Council Law No. 10, committed by murder and ill-treatment of Allied nationals in Security and Work Camps.

Buck, Muth, Nussberger, Ostertag and Ulrich were sentenced to death; Wünsch received 1 year imprisonment.

Upon appeal, the (French) death sentences of Buck and Nussberger were commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour. The sentences of Muth and Ostertag were both commuted to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Ulrich’s (French) death sentence was carried out by shooting on 26th August 1947 at 0700 hrs in a gravel pit to the southwest of Sandweier (today part of Baden-Baden).

It is not quite clear at which date the British decided to reprieve Buck, Nussberger and Ostertag and to commute their sentences to prison terms, seeing that (a) the French would not hand the prisoners back any time soon and that it (b) would be very much against British tradition anyway to execute a death sentence years after sentencing.

Buck and Nussberger stood another trial in January 1953 in Metz, in which Robert Wünsch, too, was tried in absentia. All three of them received a death sentence, and again Buck and Nussberger were reprieved, their sentences being shortened to 20 years. Both were released from the British prison at Werl on 9 September 1955. It is not known since when they were back in British custody.

According to archival records, Ostertag was still in prison in 1954.

Otherwise, the final disposition of the sentences for Muth, Ostertag, Wünsch, Dinkel, Zimmermann and Korb is unknown.


Dinsmore, Walter Francis (012-1745)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Dittmer, Arthur H.


Dold, William F. (012-0489, 012-0489-1)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Dole, Lyle E.


Dolecek, Victor D. (012-1368/4)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Donahue, John J. (012-0551, 012-0551-1, 012-1915)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Dornburgh, Edmund L. (012-1871, 012-1871-1, 012-2000 (Incident 3 of 10))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Dorrell, Matthew (WO 235/351)

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_351 Solingen Case. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Dottoviano, Marccena F. (012-1395)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Dowell, Charles W. (WO 235/339 Rheine Airfield Case (Charge 6))

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_339ff Rheine Airfield Case. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Doyle, Gray H. (WO 235/339 Rheine Airfield Case (Charge 2))

Verbatim trial transcript available. WO 235_339ff Rheine Airfield Case. Please contact us via Helpdesk.


Doyle, Joseph William


Draper, Thomas Maynard (WO 309/339, WO 309/1255)


Dubé, Henri Edouard (No record of a trial)


Duke, William A. (012-2000 Charge (Incident 7&8 of 10))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Dumont, William A. (012-2381, 012-1497)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Dykeman, Robert ‘Bob’ (012-485)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Edwards, William James


Eggleston, Jon E. (012-2175)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Eike, George Walden (Belgian war crime trials)


Erich Milton, Benjamin (012-0468)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Ertel, Raymond C.


Eschinger, Edward G.


Espelid, Halldor

BIRTH 6 Oct 1920 Askøy kommune, Hordaland fylke, Norway

DEATH 29 Mar 1944 (aged 23) Kiel, Kieler Stadtkreis, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

BURIAL Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland

Espelid enlisted in the Norwegian Army Air Service with service number 110378 and sailed at about Christmas 1940 to Canada to train at Little Norway, the Norwegian Armed Forces in exile camp at Toronto Island Airport. He completed basic training and learned more English language then completing flight training. On 21 November 1941, Espelid was awarded his aircrew brevet pilots wings as shown in a portrait and was promoted sergeant. His instructors recommended that he had the aptitude to become a fighter pilot. After further training Espelid sailed for England where he joined an Operational Training Unit and began to fly Supermarine Spitfire aircraft.

On 15 July 1942, he joined No. 331 Squadron RAF, a squadron manned by Norwegian personnel flying Spitfires. The squadron had moved from Catterick to RAF North Weald in May 1942 to fly operationally with the fighter wing commanded by Wing Commander Don Finlay, which operated from that base. He flew missions over the English Channel to occupied France and covering the amphibious landings during the Dieppe Raid in August 1942 where the squadron was involved in significant air fighting, particularly over Dieppe.

On 27 August 1942, Espelid took part in a mission over Occupied France flying Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vb (serial number BL588, squadron codes FN – A). He failed to return from the mission after his aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and had to crashland east of Dunkirk. A fellow pilot (Bjørn Ræder) stated that 'he was seen to be hit by anti-aircraft fire at 20,000 feet and his Spitfire plunged out of formation. A little later he comes back only to break out again and continue over France. The radio must have been shot to pieces and control was lost'. He was captured and reportedly spent a short period at Oflag XXI-B Schubin before becoming prisoner of war No. 643 held at Stalag Luft III in the province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland). During his time in captivity he was possibly promoted lieutenant, Norwegian Army Air Service; this rank is also shown in German records as pilot officer although the North Weald memorial and his headstone show the rank of sergeant. His rank is also given as sergeant when he was named in the British press on 20 May 1944 as having been killed, although his name was incorrectly reported as 'H.Estelic'.

THE GREAT ESCAPE

Espelid was one of the 50 escapers who had been listed by SS-Gruppenfuhrer Arthur Nebe to be killed so was amongst those executed and murdered by the Gestapo. Originally his remains were buried at Sagan, but he is now buried in part of the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery beside his brother escapers. He is commemorated by name on the North Weald Memorial at St Andrews Church, North Weald.

See: Fugelsand, Nils


Evans, Brian Herbert


Evans, Charles Howard (12-0468)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Evans, Hugh Legar (012-0468)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Every, Thomas Victor (WO 235/291)

Rifleman Every died at BAB 20 (a Work Camp for POWs under Stalag Lamsdorf) situated near a synthetic oil plant, near Blechhammer (now Blachownia Śląska, Poland) when on 22nd August 1944 the oil plant was raided by elements of the 15th US Air Force.

On this day the prisoners of war had been allowed to leave their camp, which was close to the oil plant being raided, as soon as the "Voralarm" (pre-alarm) was sounded. This gave them about ten minutes' time to disperse in the surrounding area. According to witness statements, three British POWs were killed during this raid, Every being one of them. After having been first buried in Cosel (now Koźle, Poland), he was transferred to Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery after the war and now rests there in plot 4, row C, grave 10.

His name is entered in the VitzArchive because his death was the subject of a war crime charge against Lieutenant General Kurt Wolff, officer in charge of prisoners of war in Wehrkreis VIII, for failing to provide air raid shelter for the prisoners of war or to move them to safer quarters outside the target area, thereby causing the deaths of four named British prisoners of war of whom Every was one. A British Military Court found Wolff guilty of the charge and sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment of which he served about four and a half.

Full verbatim trial transcript available via helpdesk


Ewing, William R. (012-1395)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Faber, Kenneth (012-0489, 012-0489-1)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Felden, John (TS 26/613; WO 309/106, WO 309/804; WO 309/1012)


Fetterhoff, Willard R. (12-1545 (Charge 2))

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Fields, James T. (012-0551, 012-0551-1, 012-1915)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Flach, Ferdinand (012-472)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Folds, Donald Francis Foster (WO 235/291)

Craftsman Folds died at BAB 20 (a Work Camp for POWs under Stalag Lamsdorf) situated near a synthetic oil plant, near Blechhammer (now Blachownia Śląska, Poland) when on 22nd August 1944 the oil plant was raided by elements of the 15th US Air Force.

On this day the prisoners of war had been allowed to leave their camp, which was close to the oil plant being raided, as soon as the "Voralarm" (pre-alarm) was sounded. This gave them about ten minutes' time to disperse in the surrounding area. According to witness statements, three British POWs were killed during this raid, Folds being one of them. After having been first buried in Cosel (now Koźle, Poland), he was transferred to Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery after the war and now rests there in plot 4, row C, grave 11.

His name is entered in the VitzArchive because his death was the subject of a war crime charge against Lieutenant General Kurt Wolff, officer in charge of prisoners of war in Wehrkreis VIII, for failing to provide air raid shelter for the prisoners of war or to move them to safer quarters outside the target area, thereby causing the deaths of four named British prisoners of war of whom Folds was one. A British Military Court found Wolff guilty of the charge and sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment of which he served about four and a half.

Full verbatim trial transcript available via helpdesk


Folsom, Robert Hilton 'Buck' (012-1833)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via the Helpdesk


Forman, William Howard (012-2000 charge 10)

In 1947, at Dachau, Higher SS and Police Leader Jürgen Stroop and 21 of his Gestapo and SS underlings in the area around Frankfurt and Wiesbaden were tried for the murder of allied servicemen who were prisoners of war, among them notably parachuted allied airmen. Nine cases were individually charged. Charge 10 named as victims “Lt. William H. FORMAN, T.D., AGO Card No. 652973, and Pvt. Robert T. McDONALD, ASN 32773939”, killed “on or about 24 March 1945, at or near BENSHEIM”. The victims were buried at the scene of the crime – the backyard of the Gestapo headquarters at Bensheim – and exhumed only a few days later, on 27thand 28thMarch 1945, when American troops reached the area. Research has found that these two men were in all probability not airmen but members of the 705thTank Destroyer Battalion, attached to the 11thArmored Division. It has not been possible to find out where Lt. Forman’s remains are buried today. The Gestapo men involved were all sentenced to death and executed


Forsythe, William K. (012-658)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Frame, Daniel

Verbatim trial transcript available. Hölzer Weigel Ossenbach.zip. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Frazer, Charles


Frost, Harold


Fuller, Harrel William (012-1881)

Review and Recommendations Trial Papers available. Please contact us via Helpdesk


Fuglesang, Nils Jørgen

Fuglesang was born at Rasvåg in Hidra, near Flekkefjord, Norway the son of a customs official. He was raised and educated in Florø. German prisoner of war records confirm his residency in Florø but do not give any details of his date and place of birth. From September 1935 Fuglesang received three years education in economics at the French Lycee Pierre Corneille in Rouen before studying at the Bergen Commercial College. He was working as an apprentice with an Oslo shipping company when the war began. Following the German invasion in April 1940 and the ensuing battles the country was occupied. Fuglesang decided to escape from Norway to get to Great Britain and join the Norwegian Armed Forces in exile. Sea traffic was closely monitored by the Germans who were aware of significant numbers of young Norwegians wishing to continue the fight from England, frequent checks and searches were made and penalties harsh for anybody caught. On 12 March 1941 he escaped from Kyammen to Shetland aboard the boat Heimfjell with 11 others.

Fuglesang enlisted in the Norwegian Army Air Service with service number 742 and sailed in May to Canada to train at Little Norway, the exiled Norwegian forces camp at Toronto Island Airport. He completed basic training and learned more English language then completing flight training. He was awarded his aircrew brevet pilots wings and promoted sergeant towards the end of 1941. His instructors recommended that had the aptitude to become a fighter pilot during which he was promoted to lieutenant. After further training Fuglesang sailed for England where he joined Operational Training Unit and began to fly Supermarine Spitfire aircraft. On 9 June 1942 he joined No. 332 Squadron RAF a squadron manned by Norwegian personnel flying Supermarine Spitfire at RAF North Weald flying operationally with the fighter wing commanded by wing commander Don Finlay which operated from that base. He flew on fighter sweep and bomber escort missions over the English Channel to occupied France and the Netherlands. In action on 20 January 1943 he attacked a German Fw 190 fighter over the French coast, this was assessed as probably destroyed. His reputation as a reliable and steady pilot resulted in him being awarded the Norwegian King Haakon VII Freedom Medal and a promotion to pilot officer in March 1943.

At 1905 hours on 2 May 1943 Nils Jørgen Fuglesang was flying Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX (serial number “BS540” squadron codes “AH-E”) on a Ramrod mission with North Weald wing over south west Holland. His squadron were in action with Luftwaffe Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighters and as wingman he stuck to the tail of his lead pilot until a burst of 20mm cannon fire intended for the lead aircraft hit his own aircraft. Fuglesang crash landed in Zeeland, the SW part of Holland and was taken prisoner by German infantrymen training close by. He became prisoner of war No. 1264 held at Stalag Luft III in the province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland).

'Severe blow for 332 SQN.

2nd May 1943 SPITFIRE IX Ramrod 12Gr15 GERMAN A/C 332 SQN Fnr. Nils Jørgen Fuglesang PoW BE-NE-LX Aircraft brought down in air combat by Oblt. von Kirchmayr in a Fw 190 plane. Fnr. Fuglesang was FTR BS 540.'

Fuglesang was an enthusiastic member of the tunneling crew participating in regular shifts to lengthen and shore up the tunnel, he and fellow Norwegian Halldor Espelid were near the front of the list of men escaping and they had cleared the tunnel exit by 2230 hours. So he was one of the 76 men who escaped the prison camp on the night of 24–25 March 1944 in the escape now famous as 'The Great Escape'. He teamed up with fellow Free Norwegian Halldor Espelid, James Catanach an Australian who was fluent in German and spoke Norwegian and the New Zealander of Danish ancestry Arnold George Christensen in a group heading for Denmark and possibly ultimately neutral Sweden.

Fuglesang and his team reached Berlin as they were seen there by other escapers before they changed trains to Hamburg which they also reached successfully only to be caught on the next leg of their rail journey from Hamburg to the naval town of Flensburg on the Danish border. Nearing the Danish border on 26 March 1944 a suspicious policemen insisted on carefully examining their papers and checking their briefcases which contained newspapers and escape rations. Close inspection of their clothing revealed they were wearing altered greatcoats.

Although the four escapees had split up to pretend to be travelling individually they were all in the same railway carriage, more policemen arrived and closely examined every passenger, soon arresting all four suspects. An alternative version states that the two Norwegians were arrested on the Marienhelzungsweg and Catanach and Christensen on the Helm. The escapers were taken to Flensburg prison. The four men were handed over to the Kiel Gestapo and after interrogation were told that they would be taken by road back to prison camp.

On 29 March 1944 two black sedan cars arrived, James Catanach was taken in the first car with three Gestapo agents including SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Johannes Post a senior officer based there. Post had his driver stop the car in the countryside outside Kiel about 1630 hours and called James Catanach out into a field where he promptly shot him. The second car drew up in the same place shortly afterwards and Post told his agents to get the hand-cuffed Arnold George Christensen, Halldor Espelid and Nils Fuglesang out, stating that they should take a break before their long drive. As the airmen walked into the field they almost stumbled over Catanach’s body as they were also shot. The four men were cremated at Kiel under Gestapo supervision.

Fuglesang was one of the 50 escapers who had been listed by SS-Gruppenfuhrer Arthur Nebe to be killed so was amongst the unfortunate executed and murdered by the Gestapo. Originally his remains were buried at Sagan, but his cremation urn was removed to Kirkehavn Hidra near Flekkefjord, Norway for his family.

The Norwegians Nils Fuglesang and Halldor Espelid were on the list of officers named in the British press on 20 May 1944 as having been killed.

Trial of Max Wielen and 17 others

The Stalag Luft III Case

BRITISH MILITARY COURT, HAMBURG, GERMANY,

1st July - 3rd September, 1947

Part I

p.34 - p.35

"..... It was the task of the Gestapo to take the escaped prisoners of war over from the Kripo and to carry out the shooting. As soon as the news of the recapture of some prisoners of war was reported by the local Kripo to the Central Security Office at Berlin, Amt 5 gave out orders to the Kripo regional headquarters to hand over these prisoners to the Gestapo and Amt 4 gave out orders to the regional headquarters of the Gestapo to take over a certain number of enemy prisoners of war to be shot and to report the killing to Berlin. The orders were given out by teleprint to the Kripo and Gestapo regional offices throughout the country.

Charges (iii)-(ix), relate to the shooting of 12 officers carried out by six Gestapo [sic] regional headquarters, Saarbrucken, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Munich, Kiel and Zlin frontier police. All the accused in charges (iii)-(ix) were members of the staff of these six regional headquarters, ranging from officers commanding down to duty drivers. Identical orders were given to these six regional headquarters and the execution of these orders followed the same pattern in each case. In every case the officer commanding received orders from the Central Security Office in Berlin. He then made the necessary arrangements for their execution. The party carrying out the shooting usually consisted of either the Commanding Officer himself or another officer detailed by the Commanding Officer to be in charge of the party, of one or more Gestapo officials as escort and of a driver.

Those detailed were briefed by the Commanding Officer as to their duties and pledged to absolute secrecy by hand-shakes and by a reminder of the SS oath to the Fuhrer. They then set out at night in one or more cars to fetch the prisoners from the local goal where they were handed over by the Kripo. After a short drive the car stopped by the roadside, the excuse being always that the prisoners wanted to relieve nature. The place selected was always near a crematorium. The driver or another man remained by the car to see that no cars or passers by would stop in the vicinity. The other Gestapo officials would take out the prisoners and kill them by shooting them in the back, usually only a short distance from the road. The bodies were inspected by the nearest doctor, who issued a death certificate, and then cremated and the urns sent to the Kripo regional headquarters at Breslau for onward transmission to Stalag Luft III, as set out in the orders.

After the shooting a report was sent by the regional Gestapo headquarters concerned to Amt 4 saying : 'Orders carried out, prisoners shot whilst trying to escape'. A few weeks afterwards when the German authorities had learned from a statement made by the British Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons that the news had leaked out, an official from each of the Gestapo headquarters concerned was summoned to Amt 4 in Berlin or received a message to the effect that their reports had to be re-written as they were all identical. They had to be made 'more realistic' and more varied because a visit from the Protecting Power was to be expected and the representatives of the Protecting Power would almost certainly want to see the scene of the shooting and would also require a description of what had occurred.

Based on these facts, the prosecution alleged 'that these 18 accused were concerned with their masters in Berlin, General M?? (indecipherable) and General Nebe and with other persons known and unknown and, of course, that includes Hitler, Himmler and Kaltenbrunner in the killing of prisoners of war who had escaped from Stalag Luft III and that they were acting for a common purpose.'

Source: Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations War Crimes Commission, Volume XI, London, HMSO, 1949.




At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© 2012 - 2021 Aircrew Remembered
Last Modified: 07 May 2021, 05:32

If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.
Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor