OPINION

March 7, 1959

MAX MERTEN SENTENCED: A special war crimes tribunal yesterday issued its ruling in the case of Max Merten, sentencing him to 25 years’ imprisonment and confiscating his property. Earlier, the judge had asked Merten to clarify certain points regarding the seizure of stores and factories owned by Jews during the German occupation of Greece. The court eventually announced that the request to have the crimes prescribed was rejected. The court acquitted Merten of some of the charges as he had been acting on orders, but ruled that he had imprisoned Greek citizens without cause, that he had forcibly seized property, looted Jewish stores and condemned 9,000 Jews to forced labor and then abandoned them, resulting in the deaths of many by starvation and disease. He was also found guilty of seizing Jews’ property valued at 25,000 gold sovereigns in exchange for releasing them from hard labor, of willfully destroying the historic Jewish cemetery and of systematically terrorizing Thessaloniki’s 56,000 Jews by imposing restrictions, setting up a ghetto and subjecting people to imprisonment under inhumane conditions. (Merten was released in November 1959.)