OPINION

February 17, 1959

MERTEN CASE: The trial of alleged war criminal Max Merten continued for a fourth day yesterday in a packed courtroom. The first witness called was Carolina Gavriilidou, the only woman to return to Greece from Auschwitz. She testified that in April 1943 she was put in a train wagon along with another 80 people, with only one barrel of water between them. A week later they arrived at Auschwitz, where some were sent directly to the gas chambers. She said the Germans branded a number on their arms and told them to go to the baths, where their hair was cut off. They were given undergarments and uniforms that had been removed from Russian prisoners. For the next seven months, she said, they were put to work without being allowed to wash or drink water, apart from when it rained. Asked what she had heard about the shipments of people to Auschwitz, Gavriilidou said she had heard that Merten was behind it. UNIFICATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY FUNDS: The director of the Social Security Fund (IKA) said that he was not aware of plans to merge IKA’s main and supplementary funds. The only plans, he said, were to increase the number of those insured with the fund and to absorb weaker funds.