News / Europe

Germany Hopes to Charge 30 Former Auschwitz Guards

Siert Bruins, 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS, right, and his lawyer Klaus-Peter Kniffke, in court, Hagen, Germany, Sept. 2, 2013.
Siert Bruins, 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS, right, and his lawyer Klaus-Peter Kniffke, in court, Hagen, Germany, Sept. 2, 2013.
Reuters
German justice officials called on Tuesday for 30 former Nazi guards to face prosecution for their role in facilitating mass murder at the Auschwitz death camp during World War II.
 
The Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews but also Roma, Poles and others, at Auschwitz in occupied Poland between 1940 and 1945.
 
Nearly seven decades on, the hunt is no longer focused on high-level perpetrators of the Holocaust but on bringing to justice thousands of people who helped to manage the Nazis' death machine.
 
The justice agency in the town of Ludwigsburg, which heads German probes into Nazi war crimes, said a total of 40 former guards from Auschwitz — the largest of the Nazi death camps — were still alive and 30 of them lived in Germany.
 
German media said the oldest was born in 1916 and the youngest in 1926. Justice campaigners say their advanced age makes it urgent that they are brought swiftly to trial.
 
"The accused ... are all former guards at the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and we take the view that this job — regardless of what they can be individually accused of — makes them guilty of complicity in murder," said chief prosecutor Kurt Schirm.
 
The agency's decision to probe the former guards was prompted by the case of Ukraine-born John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing against a five-year jail sentence for complicity in the murder of more than 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp in Poland.
 
Demjanjuk, a retired U.S. mechanic, was the first Nazi war criminal to be convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime or victim but purely on the grounds he had served as a guard at a death camp. He died in March 2012 aged 91.
 
The Ludwigsburg agency said it would hand over its findings to prosecutors in 11 German states to decide whether to bring charges against the 30 survivors.
 
It said it now planned to re-examine the actions of all former employees of death camps and special killing squads [Einsatzgruppen] in a project it said would be "extremely time-consuming" and would include research in archives held in Russia, Belarus and Brazil.
 
The next six months would be taken up with re-examining the files on Nazis who served at Majdanek death camp in eastern Poland, the agency said.
 
On Monday, a 92-year-old man who served in the Waffen-SS, Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi fighting force, went on trial in the western German town of Hagen on charges of having shot in the back and killed a Dutch resistance fighter in 1945.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs