NEWS WATCH: Germany To Prosecute 30 Auschwitz Guards

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

As many as 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, now a museum.
As many as 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, now a museum.


BERLIN/WARSAW/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- Prosecutors in Germany have called for dozens of former Nazi guards to be tried for facilitating mass murder at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland during World War Two.

The decision comes amid another high profile trial against a former SS officer and a decision by Germany's president to make an emotional visit to a village devastated by war.

German prosecutors have been under pressure to bring to justice thousands of people who helped to manage the Nazi-system.

Now more than 70 long years later, Chief Prosecutor Kurt Schrimm says there is enough evidence to prosecute 30 former guards of Nazi-death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, which became a symbol of the Holocaust.

"The accused are all former guards at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland” and “they are individually complicit in murder," he explained.

MANY KILLED

German Nazis killed as many as 1.5 million people, mostly Jews as well as other minority groups, at that camp during World War Two.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a campaign titled "Operation Last Chance II" in July to find surviving war criminals, explains its director Efraim Zuroff.

"We started the poster campaign in Germany – to try and find as many as possible of the people who served in the death camps and in the special mobile killing units, who now can be brought to justice...", he said.

The investigation comes while Siert Bruins, a former SS officer, went on trial for shooting and killing a Dutch resistance fighter.

It's part of Germany's wider effort to deal with its troubled past.

FRENCH VILLAGE

This week Joachim Gauck became the first German leader to visit the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane where he embraced a survivor of one of the war's most infamous atrocities.

In 1944, a Waffen SS column arrived at the village and for no apparent reason massacred every single inhabitant they could find before burning it to the ground.

At least 642 people, including 247 children died.
German prosecutors say they are now re-evaluating the case against six former SS members, accused of taking part in the massacre, after previous attempts failed.

As he stood between the remaining ruins, accompanied by his French counterpart François Hollande, the German president made clear he realized that the "crimes committed here were done by soldiers under German command."

Therefore, he said, "It is for every German a tough task to come here, regardless of how much time has passed."

(BosNewsLife's NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).

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