Jews ‘killed for sport’ at party

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MON ROCKER AND TOBY AX­EL­ROD IN BER­LIN

A MEM­BER of one of Europe’s wealth­i­est fam­i­lies, the Thyssens, staged a ball where up to 200 Jews were killed for guests’ amuse­ment in Aus­tria in 1945, ac­cord­ing to claims made by a new book to be pub­lished this month.

In The Thyssen Art Macabre, au­thor David R L Litch­field links Baroness Mar­git Thyssen-Borne­misza Jr to the al­leged atroc­ity. She was the grand­daugh­ter of the Ger­man in­dus­tri­al­ist who es­tab­lished the fam­ily’s for­tune and elder daugh­ter of the founder of the fa­mous art col­lec­tion as­so­ci­ated with its name, Heinrich Thyssen.

On March 24 1945, Mar­git and her hus­band, Count Ivan Batthyány, were stay­ing in Rech­nitz Cas­tle on the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian border, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence ob­tained by Mr Litch­field. The cas­tle, given to her by her fa­ther, was be­ing used as an SS recre­ational cen­tre.

With Rus­sian forces just five days away, Mar­git and her hus­band held a party for 30-40 peo­ple on that night, among them Franz Podezin, a Gestapo civil ser­vant.

At around mid­night, 200 Jewish forced labour­ers work­ing in the area were herded to a piece of land near the cas­tle, Mr Litch­field says. Ac­cord­ing to the book, Podezin in­vited 15 guests to take guns and “go and kill some Jews”.

While there was no proof of the count or baroness tak­ing part in the shoot­ing, lo­cal peo­ple re­ported that she had

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