• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Germany probes former SS men over French massacre
The "Hitler Youth" SS division in France. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-297-1740-10A / Kurth / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Germany probes former SS men over French massacre

AFP · 29 Jan 2016, 14:50

Published: 29 Jan 2016 14:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Jan 2016 14:50 GMT+01:00

The three suspects, all in their 90s, were members of the so-called "Hitler Youth" SS division blamed for killing 86 people in the northern French town of Ascq.

The head of the central Nazi war crimes investigation unit in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Andreas Brendel, told AFP that the probe also covered other unspecified war crimes between April 1944 and May 1945.

"We also searched the homes of other people and seized documents linked to the Hitler Youth division and the probe into the Ascq massacre, but these people are for the moment only considered witnesses" and not suspects, Brendel said.

On the night of April 1st, 1944, 86 people were shot dead in Ascq in revenge for an attack on a troop transport of the "Hitler Youth" division.

"The accused denied during questioning having been members of the division and thus any participation in the killings," following the raids carried out on Tuesday and Thursday, Brendel said.

He said the confiscated documents were now being scoured for clues. Should the investigation lead to criminal charges, the ability of the aged suspects to stand trial must also be assessed.

"This is always a serious problem with elderly suspects," he said.

"Our aim is to shed light on what happened - it is above all about establishing legal clarity on the Ascq massacre."

Brendel also led the investigation into a German former soldier over the Nazis' worst atrocity on French soil, the 1944 slaughter of 642 people in the tiny village of Oradour-sur-Glane.

A court in the western city of Cologne finally threw out the case in 2014 against Werner Christukat, then 89, citing a lack of evidence.

The new investigations are part of a twilight bid by the German justice system to prosecute crimes committed by the Nazis before the last perpetrators die.

Story continues below…

Around a dozen investigations are currently under way against former SS officers who worked at Nazi concentration camps.

The so-called "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" Oskar Gröning was sentenced to four years in jail last year as an accessory to murder in 300,000 cases in which Hungarian Jews were sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944.

Another two cases involving Auschwitz personnel are due to go on trial next month.

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

Today's headlines
Man who stabbed Cologne mayor gets 14 years jail
Photo: DPA

The man who almost killed Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker when he stabbed her in the neck was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Friday.

Germany ups Turkey travel advisory after Istanbul attack
Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate mourn the victims of the Istanburl airport attack. Photo: DPA.

Germany on Friday warned its citizens to exercise particular caution if they travel to Turkey, following this week's deadly Istanbul airport attack.

Young Muslim takes on state on headscarf ban and wins
Aqilah Sandhu in court on Thursday. Photo: DPA

A 25-year-old lawyer has taken on the state of Bavaria over its attempts to stop her from wearing a headscarf - and scored a major victory.

Video
WATCH: Comic teaches about Ramadan on flying carpet
Photo: Screenshot from Dattelträger video.

A young comedian hopes his flying carpet stunt can help fight back against stereotypes - by becoming one.

Brexit vote
'It won't be romantic. But I need an EU passport'
Lucy Thomas (left), director at Give Something Back to Berlin. Photo: Private

British expats in Berlin tell The Local that a week after the Brexit vote they are still stunned - and are considering their next steps.

Town ravaged by floods tries to pick up the pieces
Rebuilding in Simbach. Photo: DPA

July 2nd should have been the start of a new life for Anna Kluchan and her husband. But then the floods came.

Lufthansa finally buries hatchet with cabin staff
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa and its cabin staff said Thursday they had reached an agreement on working conditions, bringing to an end a long and bitter industrial dispute that hit thousands of passengers.

Six burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: DPA.

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for Brits living in Germany.

Merkel demands German vote on EU free trade deal
Photo: DPA

Angela Merkel said the German parliament should be consulted on the EU's free trade deal with Canada, setting her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Red-faced pensioner declares war on pre-recorded sexline
Photo: DPA

An 84-year-old from Bavaria has reported a sex hotline to police after it let down his expectations of late night lust - and then charged him through the nose.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
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
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
7,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd