• Germany's news in English

Bavaria won't extradite Nazi hitman

The Local · 11 May 2011, 17:21

Published: 11 May 2011 16:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 May 2011 17:21 GMT+02:00

The ruling comes nearly six months after Dutch prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Klaas Carel Faber, 89, third on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of wanted Nazis, who is living freely in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt.

A federal justice ministry spokeswoman said the case had been carefully re-examined, but was now definitively buried with Wednesday's decision.

Faber, a member of a Nazi SS unit, was sentenced to death by a Dutch court in 1947 for murdering 22 Jews in the occupied Netherlands during World War II although this was later commuted to life imprisonment.

He escaped from Breda prison in the western Netherlands in 1952 with six other former SS men and fled to Germany, eventually settling in Ingolstadt in Bavaria where he worked for automaker Audi.

Faber's unit killed Dutch civilians deemed "anti-German" in reprisal for

resistance attacks. He worked from 1943 to 1944 at Westerbork transit camp, where Dutch schoolgirl Anne Frank, whose diary became world-famous, was held before being sent to her death at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Germany recognises the German citizenship Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler gave to all those serving in the SS, and does not extradite its own citizens.

Three previous attempts to bring Faber to justice failed, but German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, amid pressure from Israel, had pressed Bavaria, which has jurisdiction on the case, "to look for alternative solutions."

This could include putting Faber in prison in Germany, the minister told

the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily in November.

But the justice ministry in the southern state played down the chances of this latest attempt, following others in 1954, 1957 and 2004, being successful.

"In 2004 there was a Dutch attempt for him to serve his sentence in Germany, which was rejected on the basis of a 1957 court decision dismissing the case for lack of evidence," spokesman Stefan Heilmann told AFP news agency.

"In order to re-visit this decision, the Netherlands would have to present new and significant evidence."

The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants reacted

Story continues below…

angrily on Wednesday.

"This is a disgraceful moral offense to the memory of all who were brutalized and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in Holland - Jew and non-Jew," vice president Elan Steinberg said in a statement.

"The victims of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands whose terrible fate was encapsulated in the eloquent testimony of Anne Frank have been betrayed and the demands of justice have been scorned."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:11 May 11, 2011 by William Thirteen
Bavaria! why I am not surprised...
18:12 May 11, 2011 by heathen
I was expecting the perp's name to be listed in this article as Klaas F, considering D-land's penchant for coddling criminals and their privacy.
18:23 May 11, 2011 by Englishted
So the Dutch were lenient by only giving life in prison ,the payback from the Germans is a slap in the face of all Europe.

If the Germans will not extradite him ,why is he not on trial in Germany ?.

We criticize the U.S. for not agreeing to sent their people to trials outside the U.S. so what is different ?.

@jeeves42 I think William Thirteen means that Bavaria has a name as a Nazi stronghold which has old SS servicemens clubs and stong right wing parties.
18:31 May 11, 2011 by William Thirteen
okay, perhaps i should narrow it down a bit.

Ingolstadt! why i am not surprised...

i think the real scandal here is the decision to honor Hitler's promise to grant all SS members German citizenship. It would be interesting to see a geographic distribution of all these former foreign SS members...
18:33 May 11, 2011 by EastPrussia
I think its sad how groups and other countries can pressure Germany into putting someone on trial - and an old man at that. Why do Holocaust survivors' descendents have influence in the international affairs of another nation's justice system? If Germany bends to this "pressure", it will be implying that anyone with a grievance can change the focus of the law itself. This man should only be tried or extradicted if there is EVIDENCE to support such a decision. That's the law.
18:47 May 11, 2011 by Englishted

"Why do Holocaust survivors' descendents have influence in the international affairs of another nation's justice system? If Germany bends to this "pressure", it will be implying that anyone with a grievance can change the focus of the law itself."

Justice system -German is allowing a law by Hitler to override a European arrest warrent, There would be no Holocaust survivors' descendents if there had been no Holocaust perpetrated by Klaas Carel Faber and his cohorts.Time can't be allowed to detract from what they did.
19:26 May 11, 2011 by Flint
Let me see if I've got this straight. Germany is outraged at the possible "extrajudicial" killing of Osama Bin Laden, but won't return a convicted war criminal to the Netherlands because Hitler gave him citizenship.

Is that about right?
19:32 May 11, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Now let me get this straight. Germany successfully extradites an old man from the U.S. to stand trial for supposedly being a guard at a Nazi concenetration camp. But, when it comes to this guy, they not only refuse to extradite (according to law) him, but refuse to have him serve out his sentence!!!!

Have to agree with Flint's viewpoint. Looks a bit like double-speak from the Germans.
20:44 May 11, 2011 by MfromUSA
With regard to war criminals, Germany is schizophrenic.

There is no rational law that exists here to hold war criminals accountable.

And German citizens have the audacity to think that the US was wrong in shooting Bin Laden???? At least he was not given a chance to ESCAPE and then find refuge in GERMANY.

Good God Germany, we put an end to Hitler and YOU can't even hold war criminals accountable. And, you then think you are righteous in judging those who are willing to do your dirty work.

GET REAL!!!!!!
21:11 May 11, 2011 by Landmine

6 million dead, that's why...
21:12 May 11, 2011 by ovalle3.14
Well Adolf Eichmann "disappeared" from Argentina and "appeared" in Israel. Just a thought there.
21:36 May 11, 2011 by ukpunk1
Send in the U.S. Navy Seals!
22:11 May 11, 2011 by wxman
Jeez, go after this guy if you want vengence against a REAL Nazi, and leave poor Demjanjuk alone!
22:52 May 11, 2011 by EastPrussia
The Holocaust is a sensitive issue (rightly so), and most people don't talk about it for that reason. Any opinions are always harshly interpreted and critized. All I was saying is that everyone knows it was a tragedy. We know that some Nazis were the criminals repsonsible for it.

I simply object to ALL members of the SS (especially the army units of the SS) to be accused of 'mass murder', when most likely the majority were were teenage boys drafted to fight against Germany's opponents during a war. Hatred for Nazis gets in the way of good judgement. Some people need scape goats for their irrational hate, instead of considering more important points, like why did this happen? How can we prevent this from happening again?

@Englishted - What, Farbel is responsible for perpetrating the holocaust? Give me a break! There WOULD be a trial, except they don't have enough evidence. That's why he hasn't been extradicted. Try and see it from both sides before pointing fingers.
03:26 May 12, 2011 by JPaul
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:34 May 12, 2011 by wood artist
I am reminded of a time in the United States when states did not have the ability to legally pursue criminals beyond their own borders. So, bank robbers would often commit crimes in one state, and then drive the get-away car back to their own, thus eluding trial. Reportedly, Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame once said that if he had it to do over again, he would commit all his crimes in "the neighboring state."

Under this concept, a German citizen could travel to Belgium, murder a whole city of people, and if he made it back to Germany, could not be extradited to stand for his crimes. Sorry, but at some point that "legal technicality" seems a farce.

In this case, however, there are two farces. The first is the recognition that Hitler granted blanket citizenship, a power he did not have legally. The second is that that action becomes the basis to harbor a criminal fairly convicted of multiple murders.

Sadly this reminds me that until very recently people like Sophie Stoll, her brother, and the other members of White Rose were still officially criminals within Germany, and regarded as such. While I admire much of what Germany has accomplished, both long ago and more recently, I struggle with something like this. I think the law needs to be changed.

10:17 May 12, 2011 by frankiep
This is exactly why the US was right to kill bin Laden. It is becoming clearer and clearer that a lot of these human rights 'experts' which popped up overnight in Germany are not more than unwitting apologists and enablers of evil.
11:13 May 12, 2011 by Raminder Dhillon
This re-inforces the view of some people that germany hasnt really done to purge itself of the past. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong and defending someone who has commited crimes against humanity, makes the so called peace mission in afghanistan against crimes against humanity there ,in perspective.

Clean your own house first.
11:48 May 12, 2011 by Sooney
Sometimes history can be clouded and overshadowed by events that took place which cannot be ignored as those events shape your future ­ especially if they have negative connotations attached and sometimes actions taken (especially in this case) remain revelant and current as of today ­ the key is how you handle and represent yourselves in those actions ­ there is nothing wrong with empathizing with the fact that he is an old man and he is not the person he use to be - but there is something wrong with those 22 people not being able to live out there lives peacefully to a ripe old age just like he did ­ so where is the justice here for them - no one can say Germany did not take action albeit it appears to be skewed - or have a strong sense and belief in double standards - perhaps its the action that was taken is viewed as a continuing violation of human rights especially since Germany vowed to bring those people to justice (along with a host of other countries) not only to their own people but to the people of the world ­ According to articles as recent as 2009 that I have this guy has been able to slip through the cracks ­ while some alleged former Nazis are facing trial in their old age. Wonder what Boere - who was actually Dutch born is thinking ­ what do you mean I had to go through a trial here in Germany ­ you promised not to deport me to the Netherlands ­ but you put me on trial in Germany ­ and Klass did the same thing - we were both members of the dreaded SS and he gets to stroll peacefully ­ just because he was a German citizen ­ he even killed more people than I did ­ OK, I get it ­ double standards ­ ok for you to do it and get away with it ­ but not me ­ BECAUSE ­ I am not a German citizen. What! now I am really getting pissed off now.. Ok, who is responsible for this ­ I know my rights ­ I need to talk to them ­ something is wrong with this picture. (he-he)
12:27 May 12, 2011 by michael4096

Why do you say Hitler didn't have the authority to grant citizenship? Countries do it all the time: the British in Hong Kong, the Americans in Vietnam...

It sounds like this guy was lucky. There now is a treaty between all European countries making moving those accused of crimes across borders easier. However, according to the article, this guy was arrested and went through a deportation hearing which effectively cleared him long before this law came along. I guess either the no-retro-active-laws or the double-jeopardy rules save him.

However, before being too critical of Germany, remember that America is still protecting Warren Anderson from a legally issued arrest warrant to answer questions concerning his part in the deaths of 15,000 and the injuring of half a million in India.
12:28 May 12, 2011 by qube2
Firstly, people are assuming that the man is guilty and had the due process of law.

Secondly, it is German law being questioned here, not that of the Netherlands.

Thirdly, Bin Laden's extra-judicial killing is irrelevant to this argument. Apologists for US actions will have to try harder, I think.

Lastly, this report undoes the considerable efforts that go into continuing countering the Nazi past and atonement for their actions. The bigger picture people!
13:20 May 12, 2011 by Englishted

@Englishted - What, Farbel is responsible for perpetrating the holocaust? Give me a break! There WOULD be a trial, except they don't have enough evidence.

LOOK :"Faber, a member of a Nazi SS unit, was sentenced to death by a Dutch court in 1947 for murdering 22 Jews in the occupied Netherlands during World War II although this was later commuted to life imprisonment.."

I think as a member of a SS unit he did participate in the Holocaust,now, unless I'm wrong there was a trial in 1947.

You ask me to see it from both sides ,what sides are these? ,my side thinks that if a man murdered 22 people had a trial was found guilty and sent to prison from where he escaped to a neighbouring country there he was sheltered and allowed to live out his life as a freeman is Wrong !!

Your side say what?
14:13 May 12, 2011 by frankiep
Situations like this just make it all the more hypocritical and pathetic when Germans talk about how the US has "double morality". I have heard this accusations from Germans on more than a few occasions. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
15:07 May 12, 2011 by FredFinger
The Dutch should have hung this guy when they had him. Looks like the americans absolutely did the right thing in killing Bin Laden immediately.
15:47 May 12, 2011 by wood artist

You are correct that other countries have granted citizen under exceptional conditions, however, to my knowledge (which I admit may not include all occurrences) it was always done with two important elements.

The first is that the person granting citizenship had the legislative power to do so, and followed the rules for doing it. Germany had such rules in place at that time, but Hitler simply ignored them and did what he pleased. We could "argue" the validity of the emergency decree, but that's really beyond the point.

The second is that the person receiving citizenship has applied through the accepted process, and been cleared of any outstanding issues. Again, Germany had such a process, but it wasn't used. Membership in the SS was the only requirement, and many of the recipients didn't even know it had happened.

None of this justifies any other country, the US included, from failing to deal with legitimate requests for extradition. The US frequently struggles because others won't send suspects to the US where they might face capital punishment. I understand that, and happen to agree. Usually the US must take that option off the table, which is fine. In other cases, countries don't respond because they have fears the suspect won't get a "fair trial."

Obviously that whole idea is subject to opinions, and I seldom have enough information to make a good case one way or the other. However, I must admit that sometimes the "fair trial" notion seems valid. I watched a bit of the trial of Knox in Italy, and regardless of her guilt, that trial was a travesty of justice. They pretty much made it up on the fly.

No, the US is not perfect, but this man was tried in a reasonably fair setting, found guilty, escaped, and then located. We can agree or disagree with the sentence, but I think this one is different.

19:01 May 12, 2011 by EastPrussia
Faber has served prison time, in both the Netherlands and Israel - from which he was realeased and acquitted (in Israel's case). Why is Germany jumping on the bandwagen too? So what if the Dutch convicted him? You know that there is a heavy bias in the courts of the victors. The side I was refering to is that a man should not be presumed guilty just because someone shouts the word "nazi" and/or finds a questionable SS ID card. It's naive and ignorant. This is just a political game for Germany - I mean, they released him after convicting him - it pleases both sides.
21:07 May 12, 2011 by JPaul
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:22 May 12, 2011 by Palle
Bavaria has also repeatedly refused to extradite Soeren Kam back to Denmark (#7 on the Simon Wiesenthal list of wanted Nazi's), on the grounds of citizenship. He lives today as a free man in Germany.
21:54 May 16, 2011 by Masmuka
German Hilter Bastard.
10:08 May 17, 2011 by Fred Janssen
@EastPrussia..Kwatsch. Faber never served prison sentence in Israel, nor was he released. He escaped from a Dutch prison for is personal actions as Waffen-SS for the SD in Action Silbertanne amongst others: -for every killed NSB 3 innocent Dutch people were shot. Besides this Faber was part of the execution-squat of KZ Lager Westerbork. As Folks Deutsche living in the Netherlands I am ashamed of the ignorance and the sheer stupidity of the German Government and German Legal system. Shame on you! Solange die Deutschen sagen: ach der Krieg ist schon so lange her, so lange muessen wir gedenken.
Today's headlines
Bishop buys €300k altar as refugee home rots
Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg. Photo: DPA

Bishop buys €300k altar as refugee home rots

8 hours ago

The Bishop of Augsburg has announced plans to build a €300,000 altar in the city cathedral, just days after complaining that the city was underfunding refugees.

Five foolproof steps to do Advent like a German
The lighting of the first "Adventskranz" candle marks the start of the festive season. Photo: DPA

Five foolproof steps to do Advent like a German

9 hours ago

With the first Sunday of Advent almost upon us, The Local looks at how Germany celebrates the festive season - and what to look out for once Advent begins on November 29th.

Climate chaos threatens Germany, experts warn
Flooding in Bavaria in 2013. Photo: DPA

Climate chaos threatens Germany, experts warn

10 hours ago

Ever-more heat waves and floods will hit Germany over the coming century, posing serious challenges to the country’s agriculture and economy, a new analysis predicts.

Growth boosted by shopping and refugees
File photo: DPA

Growth boosted by shopping and refugees

14 hours ago

The German economy posted firm growth for the third quarter, boosted by consumer spending which is fast becoming a cornerstone for German economic expansion, data published Tuesday showed.

November set to break refugee arrivals record
Refugees at the German-Austrian border. Photo: DPA

November set to break refugee arrivals record

15 hours ago

November is set to break the record set in October for the highest number of refugees to arrive in Germany in one month, police reported on Monday.

Pegida marchers attack news cameraman

Pegida marchers attack news cameraman

16 hours ago

Police arrested two people in Dresden on Monday evening after a cameraman was attacked by anti-Islam demonstrators on the fringes of a much smaller gathering than recent weeks.

Volkswagen scandal
VW 'can fix 90 percent of cheating cars' in EU
File photo: DPA

VW 'can fix 90 percent of cheating cars' in EU

17 hours ago

German auto giant Volkswagen, mired in a massive emissions cheating scandal, said Monday that it has found technical solutions for more than 90 percent of the vehicles affected in Europe.

Lufthansa faces new strikes starting Thursday
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa faces new strikes starting Thursday

1 day ago

The troubled airline Lufthansa is facing a new round of strikes, after air crew union UFO told its members to head for the pickets on Thursday and Friday.

Germans 'waste valuable clothes': Greenpeace
Clothes donations at a refugee centre. Photo: DPA

Germans 'waste valuable clothes': Greenpeace

1 day ago

When it comes to what they wear, Germans have a throwaway culture. A new survey by Greenpeace shows that the words Schuster (cobbler) and Schneider (tailor) have become little more than surnames in modern society.

Funeral of Helmut Schmidt
Hamburg bids farewell to its most famous son
Pallbearers carry Helmut Schmidt's coffin away from the altar following the funeral service. Photo: DPA

Hamburg bids farewell to its most famous son

1 day ago

Thousands of people lined the streets of Hamburg on Monday to pay their respects to former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, as the great and the good of Germany, Europe and the world gathered in church to bid him farewell.

Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
German ISS astronaut tells kids to follow their dreams
Sponsored Article
Why family companies need free trade and TTIP
90 percent of Germans want tougher security
Sponsored Article
'Innovative companies like Hövding benefit most from TTIP'
Are you living in Germany's most expensive city?
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Should singer accused of homophobia represent Germany at Eurovision?
70 years since the Nuremberg Trials
The German connection in the Paris attacks
Snow expected on 'first weekend of winter'
10 years of Angela Merkel in Berlin
Could soldiers soon be patrolling German streets?
Second German Paris victim was teacher and journalist
'We can't beat Isis with military means'
How will Germany help France fight Isis?
One German confirmed dead in Paris attacks
'Don't take Paris out on refugees': German defence minister
Germany's minute of silence for Paris victims
Nightclub bans refugees for harassing women
OPINION: Refugees must learn to respect German values
The ancient German community at the heart of Texas
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd