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CRIME

Suspicions raised in alleged Nazi criminal’s death

An alleged Nazi war criminal who died shortly before his trial was set to begin last November could have been murdered, according to authorities, who have opened an investigation.

Suspicions raised in alleged Nazi criminal's death
Visitors at the Belzec camp memorial. Photo: DPA

The Bonn state prosecutor confirmed to Focus magazine at the weekend that the death of Samuel Kunz was being investigated after the prosecutor received reports that his death was unnatural.

Kunz, who worked for the Federal Construction Ministry until his retirement in the Rhine-Sieg area, was charged with ten cases of murder and more than 430,000 cases of being an accessory to murder for acts committed during his time as an SS guard in the Belzec extermination camp.

Despite having not left Germany, and being the third-most wanted war criminal on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list, he was only brought to trial last year.

But he died aged 89 shortly before proceedings were due to start.

Now the initial conclusion that he died of heart failure is being challenged after it emerged that the post-mortem showed he died of hypothermia. A lawyer has filed an official complaint that he died of unnatural causes, which has prompted the investigation.

DPA/hc

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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