German SS suspect vanishes

A day after he failed to show up in court, a former SS man charged with at least a thousand concentration-camp murders was still missing. Monitor correspondent Elizabeth Pond reports that Heinz Villain, one of nine defendants in the five-year-old trial of guards at the Maidanek extermination camp in World War II, did not appear in the Dusseldorf court Feb. 18. When his lawyer called Mr. Villain's Munich home, he was told that Villain had left that morning on a trip to an undisclosed destination.

Judge Gunter Bogen immediately placed the four remaining defendants who were not already in custody under house arrest.

The Maidanek trial is probably the last of the big West German trials on charges of mass murder in Hitler's concentration camps. All 314 witnesses have finally been heard, and the lawyers are now making their arguments. On the day Villain vanished, the prosecutor accused him of being "a fanatical SS man" who enjoyed murdering Jews and going into the Maidanek sick ward to beat ill prison ers.

Verdicts are expected by summer.

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