• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'No end in sight' for Nazi crime investigators
Hungarian deportees arrive at Auschwitz in an undated photo. Photo: DPA

'No end in sight' for Nazi crime investigators

DPA/The Local · 31 Dec 2015, 10:10

Published: 31 Dec 2015 10:10 GMT+01:00

"We will never have investigated all the cases," said Jens Rommel, who has just taken over as leader of the Central Office for Investigating National-Socialist Crimes in the small town of Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg.

He and his team hunt for evidence in archives all over the world in the hopes of achieving whatever justice is possible for victims of the Nazis and their descendants.

"We don't even know all of the crimes – and we absolutely don't know all of the perpetrators."

Rommel, a high-ranking state prosecutor, has been in charge in Ludwigsburg since early December.

Jens Rommel in the archives at Ludwigsburg. Photo: DPA

Earlier this year, the justice ministers of all the German states decided that the office should continue the work it has been doing since 1958.

No decision has yet been reached on when the investigators will wind up their work and turn the office into an archive and research centre.

But it is unlikely to be long after the passing away of the final surviving perpetrators, such as Oskar Gröning, the so-called 'Auschwitz bookkeeper' convicted of abetting 300,000 cases of murder earlier this year.

A trial date in 2016 has already been set for another 95-year-old former Auschwitz SS man after he was found fit to face the court.

"At some point, the trials will collectively fail" due to the lack of living defendants capable of standing trial, Rommel said.

Story continues below…

He and his team, though, continue to fight for a broader legal definition of complicity in the crimes committed at death camps and elsewhere.

"An accomplice doesn't have to have made a concrete contribution to a specific act of murder; rather involvement in the overall system that was aimed at extermination is sufficient," Rommel said.

Whether they are successful will be determined in the Federal Court of Justice, which is soon to consider Gröning's appeal against his conviction.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Gay German MP 'violently arrested' at Istanbul demo
Volker Beck and Terry Reintken in Istanbul. Photo: DPA

One of the most prominent members of Germany's Green party has been arrested in Turkey after attending a banned demo at the end of Gay Pride Week.

Man Utd target blasts Germany to win over Slovakia
Julian Draxler (l) celebrates with Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller. Photo: DPA

Germany coach Joachim Löw appears to have found the right formula to get his attack firing at Euro 2016 after Julian Draxler's outstanding contribution in Sunday's 3-0 win over Slovakia.

Germany says 'won't let anyone take Europe from us'
Steinmeier called the European Union “a successful project of peace and stability”. Photo: DPA

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU would weather the shock of the British vote to leave the union as he convened crisis talks.

Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,874
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd