• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Search for Nazi death camp guards widens

The Local · 9 Apr 2013, 07:20

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.

Story continues below…

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
What are Merkel's chances for remaining Chancellor?
Photo: DPA.

She's already held the Chancellery for over a decade, but infighting with political allies as well as a rocky response to her refugee policies may put a damper on Angela Merkel's staying power.

German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

'Idiot' youth lets regional train drive over him as dare
Photo: DPA

In a stunt police have described as "incomprehensible idiocy," a drunk young man from Munich lay down on the tracks in front of a fast-moving train and let it ride over him.

'Unfriendly' Germans make expat life harder: report
Photo: Pexels.com

Expats in Germany generally find it great for families and starting a career, but were turned off by the language barriers and "unfriendly" Germans upon arrival, according to a new report.

Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Law to force mums to give up identity of child's real father
Photo: DPA

Germany has drafted a law requiring mothers to inform their partners if their children were fathered by another man, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

Gallery
Germans race bulls too, but with a difference
Photo: DPA

The most important sporting events only happen every four years: the World Cup, the Olympics, and of course the Münsing ox race.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,431
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd