Many people have asked me what happened in the trial of my father's (Guido Felix Brinkmann) killers. There were three people involved, each of whom will be tried separately. The first person and the one who most likely did the actual killing was found guilty three weeks ago on all counts of 1st degree murder. New York State does not have a death penalty. 25 minimum years to life without parole is the consequence.
The judge chose to give 25 years with the recommendation to the parole board that the prisoner serve 45 years before considering parole. That would make him a 75 year old man at the time.
(For those of you who may not know, just put "Guido Felix Brinkmann" into Google.)
I didn't realize it is the custom to let the victim's family speak at the sentencing. I asked the DA if there was a specific protocol or purpose, i.e. to influence sentencing, revenge, express grief, etc. She said it can be anything. Even just talking about who this person was.
Although I couldn't be in NYC that particular day, I made a short 7 minute video that was played at the trial that I thought I would share with you.
Note I was planning to change out of my Rangers shirt and into a suit. In the video I was only doing a sound and lighting check. However what spontaneously came out was the statement and to do it again would have felt "scripted". The New York newspapers did take note of the Ranger shirt. (Go Rangers!)
The one thing I didn't say that I wanted to was this: A couple of months after the war had ended my father was heading back to Poland to see if my mother was alive. He was crossing a bridge guarded by a Russian soldier. My father spoke fluent Russian and explained he had spent the last 9 months in three concentration camps. He didn't know if any of his family or his wife was alive. Then another person, a German, attempted to cross the bridge. The Russian ripped open the German's coat to reveal the SS tattoo marking him as an SS officer. The Russian handed my father the machine gun and said, "Kill him for your family." My father handed the machine gun back and said, "No I can't do that." That was the kind of person he was and the compassion he had. (The Russian killed the SS officer.)
7 minutes 49 seconds
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For stories on my father and my mother's miraculous stories of survival, see the Concentration Camp category or just click here: