Boos first statement (made at Saarbrücken on 23 November 1962)

 

    This statement forms a part of what I am calling, The Dortmund Hearings, which commenced in 1962 and ran on for several years. This particular hearing was used to try and determine whether Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding, who had been the commander of the Das Reich Division at the time of the attack on Oradour-sur-Glane, was culpable of the crime and was to be allowed to be extradited by the French to stand trial in France for the attack. The conclusion, reached at the end of the hearings and after evaluating all the statements, was that Lammerding did not have a case to answer and so he never stood trial in France for the events at Oradour.

    This particular statement has been paraphrased from the original document, which was obtained from the German National Archives on the understanding that it would not be directly copied or distributed. All such documents will be displayed here as paraphrased translations and will give all the necessary facts without having been directly copied from the originals. I appreciate that some people may find this unsatisfactory, but I was only allowed access to the documents by agreeing to this condition. I assure you that what follows below is an accurate rendition of the content of the statement. Should the situation change in the future then the full translated version will appear here in place of the paraphrased version. For comments on this statement, see the foot of this page and notes made in italics throughout.

    All these statements were taken by means of a face-to-face interview between the subject and a Prosecuting Attorney, with a Justice Secretary present to take a transcript of the proceedings.............


    The man previously known as Georges René Boos and now signing himself as Georg René Boos made at least three statements, of which this is the first, concerning the role of Lammerding in the affair of Oradour. The first point to bear in mind is that Boos was not a voluntary witness, he had to be subpoenaed in order to attend the hearing and he was not a willing, or co-operative witness. Boos's lack of co-operation was understandable, he had spent the longest time in prison of all the defendants of the 1953 trial in Bordeaux and he had narrowly escaped execution.

    Boos had been born French on the 25th August 1923 in Keskastel (in the Department of Alsace) on the banks of the Saar river, close to the German border. At the time of this statement, he was living just 30 kilometres further north in the German town of Saarbrücken. In his (grudgingly given) statement, he summarised his treatment at the hands of the French justice system as being:

    Held in custody since capture in 1944 until the trial at Bordeaux in 1953, condemned to death on 13. 2. 1953 following that trial. On 7. 7. 1954 the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with compulsory labour on account of his treason (voluntarily serving in the German army) and in 4. 7. 1955, the life sentence was reduced to 20 years. He was finally released from custody on the 17. 4. 1959. On the 23. 7. 1957 (nearly 2 years before he was actually released) the French State issued a residence prohibition against Boos living in Alsace-Lorrain for a period of 25 years.

    At the end of this unwilling 'testimony', Boos made a perfectly valid statement and that was to the effect that the trial records held by the French in Bordeaux, would give a far more complete picture of the involvement of Lammerding than he ever could.

    There was absolutely no mention of Boos's own involvement in Oradour (or anyone else's for that matter), other than for him to declare again that he was, "innocent" and that after 14 years in French prison he was very careful about what he said.

    Boos finally added that he was unaware of the present day whereabouts of Karl Lenz and that he had last seen him in prison at Bordeaux (this must have been in response to a question put by the interviewer).

 
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© Michael Williams: 17 January 2014 ... revised 19 August 2016.