Home raids across three states result in arrests of men suspected of having participated in murders at death camp
Germany has arrested three men suspected of being former SS guards at the Auschwitz death camp in a series of home raids across three states, prosecutors said on Thursday.
The three men remanded in custody on Wednesday were aged 88, 92 and 94 and lived in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, said prosecutors in the city of Stuttgart.
They are suspected of having participated in murders at the Nazis’ extermination camp in occupied Poland, where more than 1 million people were killed in the second world war.
The three elderly men underwent medical tests and then faced a judge who confirmed their fitness to be detained in a prison hospital, prosecutors said in a statement.
Further home raids were carried out at three more locations in the state, as well as at other homes in the western states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia.
93-year-old held on charges of aiding and abetting mass murder of prisoners at Nazi death camp
theguardian.com, Tuesday 18 March 2014 13.22 EDT
German police have arrested a former Nazi medic who served at the Auschwitz death camp on multiple charges of aiding and abetting murder.
The 93-year-old, who was arrested at his home near Neubrandenburg, north of Berlin, underwent a medical checkup before he faced a judge and was then taken into pre-trial detention.
The former SS member allegedly assisted in the mass murder of prisoners who arrived on eight transports from Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia in September 1944.
Of the arrivals, 1,721 were killed in gas chambers after they were deemed unfit for forced labour at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland, prosecutors said.
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Famed Rijksmuseum Has ‘Questionable’ Holdings
Salome With Head of John the Baptist, Jan Adam Kruseman
Dozens of Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with “problematic origins,” a special commission on stolen Holocaust-era art in the Netherlands has determined.
The list that the Committee for Museum Acquisitions from 1933 onwards published on Tuesday includes priceless items that are in the hands of 41 museums, including world-famous institutions like the Rijks Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, which have nine and 11 “problematic” items respectively.
BERLIN — Hans Lipschis, reportedly one of the 10 most wanted Nazis, was arrested in Germany.
Lipschis, 93, of Aalen is facing charges of complicity in murder as a former guard at the Auschwitz extermination camp. He was arrested on Monday. According to German news reports, state prosecutors in Stuttgart are preparing an indictment against Lipschis, a native of Lithuania who was an Auschwitz guard from the fall of 1941 until the Nazis abandoned the camp in January 1945. Lipschis reportedly belonged to the Totenkopf-Sturmbann, or Death’s Head Battalion, that guarded the camp. He later became a cook for SS troops at the camp.
The Zeit Online newspaper reported that Lipschis is one of the “ten most wanted Nazi war criminals.”
In April, Lipschis told the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag that he was in Auschwitz “as a cook, the whole time.” Lipschis reportedly moved to the United States in 1956, but was expelled in 1982 after immigration authorities determined that he had lied about his Nazi past in order to gain entry into the United States.
His arrest follows the announcement last month by Germany’s Central Office for Clarification of Nazi Crimes, based in Ludwigsburg, that it had provided information about 50 former Auschwitz guards to German courts, with the aim of assisting in possible war crimes trials. All the suspects are around 90 years old.
The development was triggered by the 2011 guilty verdict in Munich against former death camp guard John Demjanjuk as an accessory to murder of nearly 29,000 Jews at Sobibor in Poland. There were no direct witnesses to Demjanjuk having physically committed murder himself, but there was sufficient evidence that he was a guard at the camp.
Kurt Schrimm, who heads the Ludwigsburg agency, told reporters last month that since the Demjanjuk verdict, “any job in a concentration camp is sufficient evidence towards a conviction as accessory to murder.”
AUSTRALIA’S strategies for bringing alleged Nazi war criminals in this country to justice are fundamentally flawed, according to a key anti-Nazi campaigner.
Broadcaster and historian Mark Aarons said Australia deserved to languish in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s lowest category after the organization gave Australia an “F” in its finding of nations’ efforts to bring fugitive Nazis before court.
Aarons said Australia stood apart from other Western democracies with large intakes of displaced persons (DPs) after World War II, as it did not seek to prosecute alleged Nazis and collaborators for breaches of immigration law, unlike the United States and Canada.
Australia accepted some 180,000 DPs, second only to the US, which took around 250,000, with Canada third. Canada, like Australia, had tried to conduct war-crimes trials but when witnesses and evidence became too old and unreliable, Canada copied the US model of prosecuting individuals for lying about their past to obtain entry permits. Australia did not follow that path, Aarons said.
Under former prime minister Bob Hawke, Australia briefly conducted war-crimes trials from 1986 to 1991 after Aarons’ landmark 1986 ABC radio documentary Nazis In Australia brought the issue to prominence.
“Except for the Hawke period, every other government has been a failure,” Aarons told The AJN this week. “Every other government has thrown up its hands and refused to put any effort into it at all.
“Actuarial mortality rates being what they are, there’s a very good chance that the last Nazi will die peacefully in his bed somewhere in Australia.”
Aarons slammed last year’s High Court ruling rejecting the extradition of Perth man Charles (Karoly) Zentai to his native Hungary over the 1944 murder of 18-year-old Budapest Jew Peter Balazs. The case was cited in the Wiesenthal Centre report as “the most disappointing result in a specific case during the period under review”.
Police in Hungary on Tuesday arrested Laszlo Csatary, said to be the world’s most wanted living Nazi, and charged him with war crimes related to the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II.
Hungarian prosecution said it indicted the 95-year-old for the part he played in sending 15,700 Jews to Nazi death camps when he was the police chief of Kosice.
Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal center, who tracked Csatary down to a suburb of Budapest late last year, told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the arrest took place that he was overjoyed by the news.
“Hallelujah,” he said. “You can’t understand what this means to me. It is a great victory and a very important one.”
By Martin Mendelsohn
Special To The Jewish Week
As a representative of the Sobibor survivors at the last trial of John Demjanjuk, convicted of Nazi war crimes before his death at 91 last March, I offer a perspective on the trial, which was fair and without bias. The notion of war crimes and the prosecution for the violation of the international norms of legal behavior is something that permeated 20th-century diplomatic and legal thinking. It was a logical extension that “war crimes” and crimes against humanity would be prosecuted after the First World War. The first war crimes trials in Germany were held in the 1920s by German courts. Virtually all of the defendants were acquitted and the effort was soon abandoned, but it gave us the seeds that produced the process and the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Elan Steinberg preferred to keep his family history private. But the fierce strategist and former leader of the World Jewish Congress was clearly motivated by it, according to observers, as he relentlessly pushed to obtain restitution for Holocaust survivors and strove to expose the Nazi past of former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
Steinberg, 59, died Friday in New York after a brief struggle with cancer, said Menachem Rosensaft, a vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. Steinberg was also a vice president of the organization.
“One of the great Jewish activists of the past decades left us today,” Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said Friday in a statement. “He was probably the most gifted communication professional in the Jewish organizational world.”
After joining the World Jewish Congress in 1978 as its United Nations representative, Steinberg quickly rose to become its executive director, key spokesman and primary behind-the-scenes strategist.
He achieved what was arguably his greatest triumph in the late 1990s, when a campaign he orchestrated against Swiss banks resulted in more than $1 billion in compensation for victims of the Holocaust and their descendants.
“There is no denying that the Swiss were the bankers and launderers for Hitler’s Germany,” Steinberg told The Times in 1997.