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OFFBEAT

Bullet found in man’s head years after drunken New Year’s Eve

A 35-year-old man in North Rhine-Westphalia has lived for the past several years unaware a bullet became lodged in his head one drunken New Year's Eve, police told The Local on Tuesday.

Bullet found in man's head years after drunken New Year's Eve
Photo: Polizeipräsidium Bochum

The Polish construction worker in Herne doesn’t quite remember whether it was in 2004 or 2005, but he does recall feeling a forceful blow to the back of his head around midnight as he celebrated in the city centre, said Bochum police spokesman Volker Schütte.

He recently noticed a cyst on his head and went to the Herne hospital, where X-rays revealed the culprit – a 22-calibre bullet lodged in his scalp.

“He must really have a strong constitution,” said Schütte, who spoke with the patient while he recovered in the hospital following an operation on Friday. “He was of course intoxicated at the time he felt the blow. It was New Year’s Eve so naturally he’d had a bit more than usual to drink.”

Doctors informed police in the Ruhr Valley city immediately, and they are now searching for the shooter, who faces charges of negligent bodily harm.

Investigators believe that someone likely rang in the New Year with a shot, unintentionally hitting the man.

“The key, and this is obviously important and good for this man, is that the power behind the bullet was low,” Schütte told The Local. “Otherwise he would have sustained much more severe injuries.”

While investigators believe their chances of finding the New Year’s Eve shooter are low, the case could serve as an example to future revellers.

“Our next pre-New Year’s Eve safety campaign will now have an argument for telling people to leave their pistols in the gun safe because they’ll see what kind of damage can be done,” Schütte said.

The patient is expected to recover fully and will be released from the hospital in the coming days.

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CRIME

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

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