War Criminal Exposed By Walters

British historian Guy Walters has tracked down a wanted Nazi war criminal at a flat in Vienna. Erna Wallisch, 85, served as a prison guard at some of the most notorious concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe, including Majdanek and the key women's camp of Ravensbruck.

Frau Wallisch, who declined to talk to Mr. Walters when he rung her doorbell last month, has managed to evade trial thus far owing to a loop-hole in Austrian law.

Nevertheless, several witness statements exist, suggesting that Erna Wallisch is guilty of committing violent crimes against inmates. She is indeed amongst the most wanted on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's War Crimes list. At Ravensbruck alone, it is estimated that only 40,000 of 130,000 prisoners survived. Witnesses affirm that Mrs Wallisch was personally involved in the beatings of inmates.

Jadwiga Landowska, a Pole, has testified that in one instance, Wallisch "hit a young boy lying on the floor with something harder than a whip. Blood was pouring from his head and he gave no sign of life or reaction. The sweating, breathless face of that monster was something I will never forget."

Although at present Mrs Wallisch will not be tried under Austrian law, she may be tried in Poland if Polish authorities choose to pursue the case. Several of her alleged crimes took place on Polish soil. What's more, some 40,000 Polish women were interned at Ravenbruck, including respected resistance member Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, who later published a memoir about her wartime ordeal.


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