SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Police officers under increasing attack

German police are being attacked more than ever before, with people showing increasing disrespect for officers, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

Police officers under increasing attack
Don't hurt them! Photo: DPA

The number of attacks on police officers, and other ‘state officials’ such as fire fighters, rose by nearly 22 percent over the last decade, Uwe Schünemann, state interior minister in Lower Saxony told the paper. “This seems to be a trend across the republic,” he said.

Matthias Seeger, president of the federal police presidium, said, “Respect for police officers has dropped in general, in particular for young people of a migration background.”

He said small altercations held the possibility of escalation, “It can happen that, for example, the demand that a cigarette be put out, can lead to a violent confrontation.”

He said drinking and taking drugs also played a role in increasing the chances of an attack. “In around 70 percent of the attacks, the culprit was drunk,” said Seeger.

Berlin is the most violent cities for police officers, with 3,371 attacks last year. Gerd Neubeck, head of the police in the capital said, “Berlin is sadly the leader in this. The numbers are also rising in other states though.”

The police union suggested that anyone in uniform becomes an object of hate and the problems with what it said were ‘non-German and German multiple offenders with a migration background, were increasingly threatening.

Berlin’s state interior minister Ehrhart Körting said the figures should be interpreted carefully and that the high numbers should be seen in the context of the May 1st demonstrations. The numbers include someone who hurts an officer while trying to avoid arrest, which he said was very different to a considered attack.

And he defended the young people with a ‘migration background’ saying, “It would be wrong to say that a generation of young people with such a background are growing up here to be overwhelmingly criminal,” he said.

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

SHOW COMMENTS