Trial of Franz Holstein and 23 Others for Murder of French Civilians
(Completed February 3, 1947)
The Permanent Military Tribunal at Dijon, France tried Franz Holstein, a Major; Georg Major, a Captain commanding Ost Battalion 654; and Emil Goldberg, an Adjutant of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône. The remainder twenty-one accused, were tried in absentia and were the following: Hans Kruger, head of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône; Ludwig Schellaas, Adjutant of the S.D. at Dijon; Klaus Schenevoigt, non-commissioned officer of the S.D. at Dijon; Schirmacher, a Lieutenant commanding the 3rd Company, Ost Battalion 654; Vier, a Colonel, Feldkommandant at Nevers; Eder, Artillery Lieutenant, Ortskommandant at Château-Chinon; Verfurt, Lieutenant serving at Autun; Gierszewski, a Lieutenant, commanding the 2nd Company, Ost Battalion 654; Fuierer, a Lieutenant, commanding the 1st Company, Ost Battalion 654; Lenartz, Adjutant, interpreter of the S.D. at Dijon; Gottlieb Hilgenstohler, sergeant of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône; Runkewitz, sergeant, interpreter of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône; Eugen Knodler, Chief Adjutant of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône; Karl Haeberle, sergeant major of the S.D. at Châlon-sur-Saône; Hildebrand, deputy O.C. of the German Officer Cadet School at Dijon; Moeckel, Lieutenant, Feldgendarmerie at Autun; Gunther Irmisch, Colonel, head of the Feldkommandantur 669 at Dijon; Hulf, Sturmbannfiihrer of the Gestapo at Dijon; Hefeke, Captain, 2nd Battalion, 5 Kouban Regiment; Albert Hippe, Colonel, O.C. of the German Officer Cadet School at Dijon, and Merck, a Lieutenant serving at Dijon.
The accused took part in combined operations against members of the French resistance movement. They decided to execute “on the spot every member of the resistance, captured with arms, pursuant to Hitler’s orders to kill all ‘terrorists’ or ‘saboteurs.’” They also planned to burn “three farms for every German soldier killed, and of one farm for every German soldier wounded.”
“The accused killed a large number of inhabitants, destroyed by fire many buildings in various localities, and pillaged property of the population.” Twenty-two accused were found guilty of some of these offenses and two were acquitted for lack of evidence that they had personally perpetrated crimes.
All the accused found guilty, except two, were sentenced to death. Holstein and Major were convicted with extenuating circumstances and sentenced to hard labor – Holstein for 15 years and Major for 20.
Source: Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, Vol. VIII, (London: United Nations War Crimes Commission, 1949).