• Germany's news in English
 

Search for Nazi death camp guards widens

Published: 09 Apr 2013 07:20 GMT+02:00

An initial probe was first reported at the weekend into some 50 suspected former Auschwitz guards, now aged around 90, for complicity in murder, by the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes.

"We are also looking at the other extermination camps and the task forces," as the SS death squads were known, said Kurt Schrimm, the head of the investigative office based in the southwestern city of Ludwigsburg.

The scope of the pursuit of former Nazi war criminals has broadened since Germany's 2011 conviction of Ukraine-born John Demjanjuk, a former guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland who died last year.

The court in that case deemed that any function at a concentration camp amounted to accessory to murder. Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison for complicity in the murders of more than 20,000 people.

Nazi Germany's biggest death camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland where more than one million people were murdered between 1942 and 1945.

Schrimm told news agency AFP on Monday that it was now unlikely that any more surviving Auschwitz guards would be found, aside from the 50 for whom the office had collated the names, addresses and birth dates.

"First we need to establish against which of them a prosecution is still legally possible," said Schrimm, as those who had been tried in the past for serving in Auschwitz could not face court a second time.

For those among the 50 who had never faced justice before, the investigators were now trying "to reconstruct who did what where and when," he said, stressing that the probe was still in its early phase.

"At the moment we only know their names, addresses and dates of birth," he said, and no contact had been established yet with any of the suspects.

In cases where a prosecution is deemed possible, the office would send the necessary files to regional prosecutors in the states where the suspects live so that criminal proceedings could then be launched, Schrimm said.

If any of the suspects live abroad, a German federal court would decide which regional prosecution service should pursue the case.

The Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, established in 1958 and funded by Germany's 16 states, has so far conducted 7,485 investigations against suspected former Nazi war criminals.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale
Kim Jong Un has accidentally wounded his dignity while trying to stop his dignity being wounded. Photo: DPA

North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale

North Korea turned harsh diplomatic language against Berlin's film festival in the mistaken belief that The Interview, the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy about a murder plot against dictator Kim Jong Un, will be screened there. READ  

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor
Muslims at prayer in Berlin's Sehitlik mosque. Photo: DPA

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor

SPD party leader Raed Saleh wants to create a contract with the Muslim community similar to the one between the town hall and Christian and Jewish groups that grants them official status. READ  

Cities see slower house price growth
Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg. Photo: DPA

Cities see slower house price growth

A trend for ever-faster growth in house prices across Germany was reversed in 2014, as prices rose by four percent compared with seven the previous year 2013. READ  

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school
The monk at his court appearance in Munich on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school

A monk and former teacher at a boarding school in the Bavarian alps pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his trial for abusing two pupils and attempted abuse of two more. READ  

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists
Bribery photo: Shutterstock

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists

Campaigners say the states can do more to fight corruption after a report showed that Brandenburg, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg had the highest numbers of cases. READ  

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour
Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi speaking in Florence. Photo: DPA

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour

The eurozone's deep divisions were set to be given an airing in Florence on Friday as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel days before crucial elections in Greece. READ  

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement
Photos: DPA

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement

Germany would be prepared to negotiate a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Russia as a way out of the deadlocked Ukraine conflict, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. READ  

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister
Photo: DPA

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister

Environmentalists and train companies reacted with outrage to Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt's plan to allow more giant "gigaliner" trucks on motorways before they've passed a trial period. READ  

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder
Demonstrators in Dresden with photos of murder victim Khaled Idris Bahray

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder

Police in Dresden have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his flatmate, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, on Monday January 12th. READ  

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism
Photo: DPA

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism

After a false dawn for campaigners against daily topless models in Britain's Sun newspaper, The Local talks to the women campaigning against sexism in Germany's biggest-selling tabloid. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,449
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd