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December 08, 1933 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1933-12-08

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yew itness Of
"Reichstag Trial
Recounts Story
Varn der Lubbe,Communist
Who Fired Government
Building, Examined
(Continued from Page 1)

trial examinations, in order to be
present before the opening of court.
The streets around the building were
deserted, and I soon found out why.
As I approached the south entrance,
as soon as I had stepped on the side-
walk, two policemen, guns slung over
their shoulders, rushed up with much
shouting and demanded to know
what I was doing, where I was going,
and what I wanted.
Enters Building
In such cases as this, I always find
it easier to forget all my German
and answer in English, accompanied
with gestures of the hands, thereby
establishing myself as an innocent
tourist. The two immediately became
very courteous traffic cops once
more, and, when I showed my press
pass to the trial and had pointed to
the building, they motioned around
to the north side where the proper
entrance was. I thanked them and
went around as directed. There my
ticket was examined at the door, in-
side the door, and a third time at
the entrance to the stairway which
led to the trial room.
Attendants Courteous
Before I go any farther, let me say
that the Reichstag attendants are
the most courteous, helpful fellows
I have ever seen in a similar capa-
city. None of the Civil War Pension-
ers for the Germans. These men are
dressed as carefully as the head-
waiter in the Hotel Adlon and act as
if they had been lavishly tipped in
advance. They glide smoothly in and
out of the rooms, quietly, and are
ready to assist you at any .moment.
In no time at all, I had been taken
to the top floor in an elevator (per-
haps for the sake of speed it would
have been desirable had this particu-
lar elevator perished in the flames
last February) had shown my ticket
once more at the entrance of the trial
room, and had been ushered to a
seat at one of the large press tables.
The back of the room, which was
somewhat smaller than the circuit
court room at Ann Arbor, was lit by
electric lights. The front, where sat
the judges, prisoners, lawyers and
eyewitnesses, was still dark. In front
of the presiding judge's chair and
the witness stand were microphones,
and on the wall, at one side, was a
loudspeaker. Yet so well were they
disguised that I failed to notice their
presence until the talking started.
Back in a corner, later on, appeared
a young Nazi with earphones, who
"mixed the sounds" and adjusted the
volume to the voice of each individual
Over the bench was a large paint-
ing of what appeared to be one of the
old Emperors of the Holy Roman
Empire reviewing or greeting a group
of German Hussars on horse-back,
led by the "Old Emperor", William I.
The room was beautifully panelled
and very high. At the extreme rear
were four' rows of seats for specta-
tors, then came five large tables,
labelled "Presse", which accomodated
comfortably 110 representatives of
the fourth estate when full, and yet
left room for writing purposes. In
front of this second division were
again four rows of seats for the more
distinguished guests and the wit-
Scene Described
The windows were on the left hand
side of the room. In front was the
witness stand, in the middle of the
room, and f a c i n g the presiding
judge's seat. In front of it was the
table for the prosecution. At the left,
under the window, was another table
at which sat several Nazis in uni-
form, while on the right was a rail-
ing, which set off a box resembling
the jury box, in which the prisoners
and their guards sat. In front of this
box were tables for the defense at-
I had apparently chosen a bad day
for news, since scarcely 20 men and
women sat at the press tables. But
the rest of the space was crowded
with spectators. A rustle of whispers
amongst them announced the com-

ing of the prisoners who arrived, each
accompanied by his guard, who sat
beside him during the proceedings,
rose with him when he questioned a
witness, and escorted him out during
rest intervals. Then the lights in
front of the spectator benches went
up, and thejudges entered.
Give Ndazi Salute
The nine men were as distinguish-
ed looking as our American Supreme,
Court, garbed in brilliant red robes
and crown-like hats resembling mor-.
tarboards as they filed in. But the
effect was spoiled when the audience,
with the exception of an English
correspondent a n d myself raised
their hands in solemn Nazi salute.
The judges, having reached their
seats, turned, also delivered the Nazi

salute, and sat down, as did the-.au-
dience, Somehow the sight of nine
dignified judges in their ceremonial
robes solemnly giving the -Nazi sa-
lute tends toward the ridiculous. But
the day's work was finally underway.
Witnesses Cress-examined
The witnesses stood all the time,
in front of him, and repeated any-
thing they liked, whether actual fact,
hearsay, rumor or opinion. Cross ex-
amination was conducted by the
prisoners themselves, if they chose.
Actually, on this day, only Torgler
and Dimitroff availed themselves of
this opportunity, always addressing
their questions to the judge, who re-
peated these to the prisoners.
Dimitroff had. to be rebuked sev-
eral times for looking at the witness
when asking questions. He is a
rather short, well-dressed man, and
speaks like a typical soap box orator
-making each sentence end in a
verbal exclamation point. His Ger-
man is fair, and he speaks slowly ex-
cept when working up to a climax,
which the judge resents as he gets
too noisy. His style of speaking is
loud and dramatic, but I believe he is
accustomed to it and is not con-
sciously dramatizing himself. H i s
questions, which are always referred
to as "fresh" and impertinent" in the
German press, are sometimes quite to
the point.
Intimates Witnesses 'Found'
On this particular day he asked
each witness why he had not testi-
fied at the first investigation of the
fire. Varied answers were given, but
I believe the point he was trying to.
make was that not until the Nazis
took over the trial and officially
blamed the Communist party did
they start "finding" witnesses.
Torgler speaks quietly and follows
the judge's instructions. Van der
Lubbe, at whom all necks crane
whenever his name is mentioned, sits
in a stupor, staring straight ahead
and apparently understanding noth-
ing that goes on. Even the judges
discuss him as though he were not
Today, however, he was apparently
in better health than during the
previous part of the trial. Before
asking questions, the judge always
addressed him by name, as if trying
to awaken the boy's consciousness, or
at least to try to hold it for a minute.
He is spoken to like a child, all ques-
tions are phrased in simple words,
and sometimes 30 or 45 seconds
elapse in silence before an answer
comes, or another question is placed.
Defendant A Tragic Figure
This defendant is the most tragic
figure in the whole case.-In Com-
parison to his fellow-accused, he
wears an old sweater under a coat
with a shabby pair of pants. His
bushy hair projects at least three or
four inches in front of his face.
Every word he speaks apparently
occasions great physical eff crt on
his part. Sometimes he answers
"Yes" or "No" promptly. When he is
able to give a longer answer, more
time is required. Sometimes he does
not answer at all.
He understands most of the Ger-
man questions, and the interpreter's'
main duty is to catch the faintwords
as he speaks them and relay them to
the judges. Sometimes, after quite
a pause followed a question, he
would translate the ;.question into
Dutch, and at times this elicited an

Undersecretary Phillips Proclaims Repeal

The first formal course in forestry
offered by an educational institu-
tion in, the United States was in the
curriculum of the University, accord-
ing to a recently completed survey
made by Prof. C. H. Guise of Cornell
University, and Dean H. S. Graves of
the Yale School of Forestry.
With the organization of the School
of Political Science here in 1881, for-
estry was included as one of the
seven main groups of subjects covered

by the curriculum. The course was
taught by Prof. Volney M. Spaulding
of the botany department, and was
open for election by students
throughout the University in addition
to those enrolled in the School of
Political Science.
The course, which carried two
hours credit in the second semester,
covered the historical development
of the science of forestry; the influ-
ence of forests on human affairs; the

Michigan's . Forestry Course
First To Be ffered In U. S.

control of forests by methods of for'-
est management; and forest legisla-
tion in Europe and the United States.
It was offered for four successive
years, until Dr. Charles Kendall
Adams, dean of the School of Political
Science, left to become president of
Cornell University.
Observers find a good deal of in-
terest in the alignment of forestry
with the social sciences in its eco-
nomic and social aspects. With the
establishment of separate schools of
forestry in various institutions from
1898 on, there was a marked tendency
to associate the field more with the
natural sciences, and particularly
with biology.

Our stock is large and attractive with prices ranging from one to
twenty-five cents the card. Personal cards can still be ordered.
We also carry a complete stock of CHRISTMAS STATIONERY
in the form of letters, notes and cards.

-Associated Press Photo
Here is Undersecretary of State William Phillips as he signed the
proclamation certifying the required number of states had acted to
abolish the Eighteenth Amendment. He signed the document in the
absence of Secretary Hull.



.EY - 'II



Audience On Edge
But the whole audience sits on
edge when he is questioned, trying to
help him utter the words which they
think will help clear up the case,
even as spectators at athletic events
try from their own motions, yells
and what-have-you to help the run-
ner across the finish line or the half-
back over the goal.
This is not entirely sympathy.
Many Germans think Van der Lubbe
knows more about the fire than any-
one else; that if he could or would
answer, he would clear up the mat-
ter - perhaps definitely associate the
Communists with the affair. No one
believes he did the job alone -it ap-
pears to be a physical impossibility;
Dimitroff and Torgler have been pro-
vided with excellent alibis by wit-
n e s s e s, and the prosecution wit-
nesses who have made the most
damaging statements are all at pres-
ent inmates of jails or concentration
camps, which speaks none too well
for the prosecution.
At all times,,Dimitroff acts as Van
der Lubbe's attorney in a way, ask-
ing the questions the latter is not
able to ask himself.
Adjourns At Noon
At noon the court adjourned and
we visited the Wandelhalle, where a
buffet luncheon was served. Most of
the German spectators had brought
their own sandwiches with them, in
true German style, and bought only
coffee with which to wash down their
brown bread..+
The afternoon procedure began in
the same manner as the morning
one, with the all-too-willing-to-tes-
tify-but-nothing-to-say type of wit-
ness on the stand, and dragged so
that the judge closed the day's hear-
ing at 3 o'clock. We wandered out
into the rain, the prisoners were
whisked away from a side entrance,
and the 39th day of the trial was


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