(Document Source): Memorandum to Maj J. C. Duvall, Acting Chief Prosecution Section
On or About December 20, 1944, in the neighborhood of Bleialf, Germany, (GSGS 42, Sheet 6, Coordinates P-98), between six and seven hundred American soldiers of the 106th Infantry Division were captured by the 2nd Battalion of the 293.Volksgrenadier-Regiment (18.Volksgrenadier-Division); Hauptmann Kurt Bruns was in command. Among the Americans were 23 German-speaking enlisted men apparently of German Jewish descent and who were members of the IPW Team 154. Bruns made the statement that there is no room for Jews in Germany and they were taken down the road and shot. The bodies were recovered on February 13, 1945, and identified as being St/Sgt Kurt R. Jacob and T/5 Murray Zappler.
Bruns was brought to trial before a Military Commission appointed by the Commanding General 1st US Army on April 7, 1945. The accused pleaded not guilty but was found guilty and sentenced to death by musketry. The sentence was approved by the Commanding General, 1st US Army on May 8, 1945, and forwarded to the Commanding General of the 12th Army Group for final disposition. The Commanding General of the US 12th Army Group on June 7, 1945, confirmed the sentence and ordered it to be executed by the Commanding General of the US 9th Army on June 9, 1945. Since the original investigation, a statement has been received from a German national currently confined in a sanatorium that implicates Oberst Witte Commanding Officer of the 293.Volksgrenadier-Regiment, in the beating of wounded American prisoners of war in the same area between December 16 and December 21, 1944. According to the testimony of the Bruns Case, Witte was last heard of in Berlin, and it this not known if he is still alive although requests for his apprehension have been filled.
(a) It is recommended that the processing Section extract the six sheets held together by double clips in this file as they are not German to this or any other case since they consist of an opinion to the former Theater Judge Advocate General on the competency of there US Military Commission to try war crime cases.
(b) It is recommended that the Processing Section extract from this file the statement of Günter Fischer relating to the alleged beating of American prisoners of war by Oberst Witte, and process it as a separate case.
(c) Since trial had been had for the accused in case N° 6-56, it is recommended that it be finally closed and classified IF-3