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CRIME

Swede makes up kidnapping after marriage dispute

A 43-year-old Swedish man has landed himself in hot water with German police after he tried to smooth over the cracks of a marital tiff with a dramatic but entirely fabricated crime.

Swede makes up kidnapping after marriage dispute
The man staged the crime at the Nuremberg train station. Photo: DPA

Police in Nuremberg launched a large-scale manhunt after the man approached an officer at the central railway station on Saturday and claimed to have been abducted from his home in southern Sweden on October 21st, newspaper Nürnberger Nachrichten reports.

The man told police that two unknown men had taken him from his home and driven him to Germany in a Volvo with Swedish plates. There they demanded money and stole thousands of euros after forcing him to reveal his credit card details.

The Swede said he was then held against his will in Nuremberg for several days before the kidnappers dropped him off in front of the main station and fled the scene in their Volvo.

Having no reason to doubt the veracity of the story, police immediately committed resources to a search for the alleged perpetrators.

But when questioned in the presence of an interpreter, the Swede confessed that he had in fact fled his home country of his own accord when he no longer felt like speaking to his wife.

The marital fugitive revealed that his impromptu road trip had also taken him to Austria and Italy before he eventually made his way to southern Germany.

Somewhere in the course of the journey, the thought struck him that he was going to have some explaining to do when he finally got home. Realizing his wife might view his disappearance in a more favourable light if he could prove he had been the victim of a crime, the Swede set about concocting his improbable tale of abduction and woe.

Despite the fact that they did not always see eye to eye, the 43-year-old’s wife had taken the trouble to report her husband missing in the intervening period.

But the authorities in Nuremberg were not quite so charitable. State prosecutors ordered a €3,000 bail payment and have placed the Swede under investigation for forging a crime.

CRIME

Former Nazi camp guard, 101, gets five-year jail sentence

A German court on Tuesday handed a five-year jail sentence to a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, the oldest person so far to go on trial for complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust.

Former Nazi camp guard, 101, gets five-year jail sentence

Josef S. was found guilty of being an accessory to murder while working as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945, presiding judge Udo Lechtermann said.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, had pleaded innocent, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said at the close of his trial on Monday.

But prosecutors said he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the camp and called for him to be punished with five years behind bars.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

More than 200,000 people, including Jews, Roma, regime opponents and gay people, were detained at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945.

Tens of thousands of inmates died from forced labour, murder, medical experiments, hunger or disease before the camp was liberated by Soviet troops, according to the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum.

Prosecutors said the man had aided and abetted the “execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942” and the murder of prisoners “using the poisonous gas Zyklon B”.

He was 21 years old at the time.

Contradictory statements

During the trial, S. made several inconsistent statements about his past, complaining that his head was getting “mixed up”.

At one point, the centenarian said he had worked as an agricultural labourer in Germany for most of World War II, a claim contradicted by several historical documents bearing his name, date and place of birth.

After the war, the man was transferred to a prison camp in Russia before returning to Germany, where he worked as a farmer and a locksmith.

He remained at liberty during the trial, which began in 2021 but has been delayed several times because of his health.

Despite his conviction, he is highly unlikely to be put behind bars, given his age.

His lawyer Stefan Waterkamp told AFP ahead of the verdict that if found guilty, he would appeal.

More than seven decades after World War II, German prosecutors are racing to bring the last surviving Nazi perpetrators to justice.

The 2011 conviction of former guard John Demjanjuk, on the basis that he served as part of Hitler’s killing machine, set a legal precedent and paved the way for several of these twilight justice cases.

Since then, courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly linked to the individual accused.

By David COURBET

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