Bomber surrenders after overnight standoff

A man in Viernheim surrendered to police on Thursday morning after a tense overnight standoff after barricading himself in his apartment and injuring a family of four with a bomb the day before.

Bomber surrenders after overnight standoff
Photo: DPA

Some 500 police and emergency workers had surrounded his apartment throughout the night while special officers negotiated with the 44-year-old. He had threatened to set off more explosives in the city located not far from Mannheim.

But at 10 am on Thursday, the man emerged from the building with his hands held high as about one dozen police commandos slowly moved in to arrest him. A police spokesperson said the suspect is “under control.”

The man, identified as Jürgen K., allegedly set off an explosion around 6:00 am at a single-family home on Wednesday morning, fleeing into his nearby apartment wearing camouflage and a gas mask. From there he called police and threatened further explosions.

The family inside the bombed home sustained minor injuries when the parents were forced to break a window and escape with their seven and nine-year-old children, both of whom suffered from shock after the blast, police said.

Investigators believe that another Wednesday-morning explosion in Weinheim, some five kilometres away in Baden-Württemberg, was also set off by the man. According to a police spokesperson, the blast involved a hand grenade, though no one was injured.

While his motive remains unclear, police said that Jürgen K. was being evicted by his landlord after failing to pay rent for several months.

Police shut off natural gas lines and evacuated some 100 residents from surrounding buildings forcing them to spend the night with friends and family, or in accommodations provided by the state.

But many people living nearby posted themselves on their balconies to observe the uneasy yet quiet police operation until well after midnight, news agency DDP reported. Meanwhile volunteers sent out bowls of potato salad, sandwiches and coffee for emergency workers and journalists at the scene.

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101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

A 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard on Monday once again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close in Germany.

101-year-old former Nazi guard pleads innocent in German trial

Josef Schütz, the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi crimes during World War II, is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial, 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 again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.

Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schütz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and was “telling the truth”.

READ ALSO: Ex-Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial to face court in Germany

Prosecutors say he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.

But Schütz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on “hints” of his possible involvement.

“As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,” Waterkamp said.

Former Nazi guard

The 101-year-old former Nazi guard covers his face at the Neuruppin courthouse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

It would be a mistake for the court to try to “make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges”, the lawyer said.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, told AFP Schuetz “does not want to remember”, calling it “a form of defence”.

The trial was not just about “putting a centenarian in prison”, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an “experimental extermination camp”.

“All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,” Grumbach said.

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