Nazi concentration camp survivors testify in Spanish trial

Two Spaniards who survived a Nazi concentration camp have appeared as witnesses in a suit filed against four men who allegedly worked as camp guards, judicial sources said.

Nazi concentration camp survivors testify in Spanish trial
A file photo of one of the accused, John Demjanjuk. Photo: DPA

Ramiro Santisteban and Jesus Tello told the judge on Monday they could not recognise the four men when shown 60-year-old pictures of them.

The two Spaniards were deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Austria from France, where they had fled after Spain’s 1936-39 civil war.

They are among 7,200 Spaniards who were imprisoned in the camp during World War II, 4,300 of whom died.

Families of Spaniards deported to Nazi concentration camps filed the suit against four suspected former SS officers – Anton Tittjung, Josias Kumpf, Johann Leprich and John Demjanjuk.

Germany has also issued an arrest warrant for the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, who lives in the United States but who has been stripped of his American citizenship over his Nazi past.

Germany accuses him of taking part in the deaths of at least 29,000 Jews when he was a guard at the Sobibor Nazi concentration camp in what is now Poland from March until September 1943.

The Spanish lawsuit demands that the four men be extradited to Spain to stand trial for the deaths of Spanish citizens at camps at Flossenberg and Sachsenhausen in Germany and at Mauthausen where they allegedly worked as guards.

Spain’s National Court accepted the suit last July under Spain’s principle of “universal jurisdiction,” with which crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism and other heinous offences can be prosecuted in Spain even if they were allegedly committed abroad.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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