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WORLD WAR II // 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

From newspapers of Sept. 1, 1945: Six years ago today, World War II began when Germany attacked Poland. About 10 tonight Eastern time, the war will officially end when a Japanese delegation boards the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay to sign Japan's formal surrender. (It will be 11 a.m., Sept. 2, Tokyo time.) President Truman will officially proclaim V-J Day as the surrender ceremony is being held. Allied war-crimes investigators in Germany disclose the text of a statement from the commandant of a group of Nazi concentration camps. Franz Ziereis, who oversaw Mauthausen and other camps in Austria, was shot by American troops as he tried to evade capture on May 24. As he lay dying, he asked to dictate a statement. "Regarding the killings, I merely carried out orders from Himmler," Ziereis said. "How many people were murdered in the gas chambers at Mauthausen, I've forgotten." He recalled a time in 1940 that Reinhardt Heydrich "sent me 320 Poles to shoot. . . . I took part in shooting the prisoners myself because in my opinion the volksdeutche (Germans from foreign countries) were bad shots." The statement will be used as evidence at the forthcoming Nuremberg war crimes trial.

_ Compiled by Neville Green, St. Petersburg Times

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