News Column

Suspected Auschwitz Guard Arrested in Germany

May 6, 2013

A suspected former guard was arrested Monday in Germany on suspicion of being an accessory to murder at Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

The public prosecutor in Stuttgart said there was strong evidence that the Lithuanian-born man, now 93, played a role in murders at the camp starting in autumn 1941 until spring 1945, when Soviet troops conquered Auschwitz in what had been Nazi-occupied Poland.

Charges were being prepared against the unnamed suspect, a resident of Aalen, Germany. He is listed among the 10 most-wanted suspected Nazi perpetrators by a special German prosecution unit for World War II-era war crimes.

At least 1.1 million people, mainly Jews, were killed in the camp.

The suspect arrested Monday had emigrated in 1956 to the United States, living in the Chicago area where he worked for the Harmony guitar company.

He was deported in 1982 after being found to have lied in his immigration papers about his alleged membership in the Totenkopf (Death's Head) division, a force within the SS, the Nazi elite forces. Many Eastern Europeans were enlisted into the division, which was deployed at extermination camps.

The suspect entered Germany in 1983, settling for the last 30 years in the south-western town of Aalen.

A source confirmed to dpa that the last suspect was a member of the Totenkopf division, working first as a guard and later as a cook for SS troops inside Auschwitz. He reportedly told a German newspaper, which asked if he had been at Auschwitz: "Yes, the whole time as a cook."

Kurt Schrimm, chief of a World War II prosecution unit based in the German city of Ludwigsburg, has estimated that potentially 50 suspected Auschwitz guards could face charges this year as accessories to murders committed at the sprawling concentration camp complex.

The new round of prosecutions became possible after a German court in a previous case found that anyone working at Nazi death camps - established only for extermination - could be found culpable as an accessory, even without personally participating in killings.

The special prosecution unit submitted two cases against suspected Auschwitz guards last year to local prosecutors.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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