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CRIME

German woman rescued from New Zealand ‘horror house’

A Leipzig woman flew to New Zealand hoping to find love with a 33-year-old PhD student she had met online, but found an old man living in a “horror house” instead, New Zealand paper Otago Daily Times reported on Tuesday.

German woman rescued from New Zealand 'horror house'
A file photo of chickens. Photo: DPA

“His home was really a horror house, I would say,” she told the paper. “Little roosters, cats and chickens lived in the house. There was a lot of cartons and dust and rubbish.”

Instead of being greeted by the eligible bachelor she thought she had met on social networking site MySpace, 36-year-old Maja met 54-year-old Peter Robb, who hurried her off to his home in Dunedin where he confiscated her passport and monitored her every move.

The man had promised the music and drama teacher a place to stay as well as help networking to find a job. She said he had wooed her online since their virtual meeting in October, sending poetry and appealing to the romantic side of the mother of one.

“He was quite intellectual and he knew the way to my heart,” she told the paper.

But instead of reciting verse to her on her arrival however, he “lived in a fantasy world” with no electricity and took off his clothes at night to lay down beside his German guest in a filthy bed, who then realised something was not quite right: “I had all my clothes on and these dirty sheets around me … I realised in that moment it was too much.”

A man she had met on the plane trip to New Zealand alerted police when Maya failed to meet him as arranged last Thursday, and they brought her to safety after six days with her “creepy” host.

She told the paper that she’d had a few chances to escape Robb’s clutches and the “dead animal smell” of his home, but had stayed because she was fascinated to see how somebody could live like that.

She advised other travellers not to take the risks she had.

“I took the risk only because I didn’t know it was such a risk. I want to tell every tourist that if you feel there is anything wrong at all, anything strange, just ask for help. I wish I had done it, but I thought they would say I was crazy,” she told the paper.

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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