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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid