`Torture' doctor too senile to stand trial
Published 22/03/2000 | 00:11
By MICHAEL LEIDIG THE trial of a retired Austrian doctor accused of torturing and killing children in Nazi wartime experiments was postponed
THE trial of a retired Austrian doctor accused of torturing and killing children in Nazi wartime experiments was postponed indefinitely yesterday, provoking accusations that the country's legal system was engaged in a whitewash.
Heinrich Gross (84), had been accused of involvement in the suspicious deaths of 789 children who died at the Spiegelgrund Hospital in Vienna. Many, if not all, were murdered.
He faced nine specimen charges of involvement in murder. The Nazis used Spiegelgrund to conduct experiments on physically handicapped children. Considered sub-human by the Nazis, many victims were starved or frozen to death during investigations into malnutrition and exposure.
The death certificates of almost one-third of them were signed by Dr Gross. In many cases victims' brains were removed for research. After the war Dr Gross continued to work at the hospital, building a career as a leading neurologist using the body parts of youngsters who died while under his care.
But when the case came to court yesterday, judges accepted that Dr Gross was too senile to be tried. His lawyer, Nikolaus Lehner, said: ``He is a very sick man. He is not fit to go on trial.''
After a short adjournment, the judge ordered an ``indefinite'' delay in the trial, with another medical review in six months
(Daily Telegraph London)