Auschwitz Guards, Now Aged 87 to 97, May Be Tried for Murder

Image: Auschwitz Guards, Now Aged 87 to 97, May Be Tried for Murder

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 10:24 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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German justice officials say 30 guards who ran Auschwitz's Holocaust death camp, who are between 87 and 97 years old, should be prosecuted.

The Baden-Wuerttemberg state justice ministry investigated 49 former guards and recommended 30 stand trial for charges of accessory to murder, BBC News reported Tuesday. Nine of the initial 49 guards have died.

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Auschwitz, in Poland, had the biggest Nazi death camp where more than 1.1 million people, most of who were Jews, were murdered from 1940 to 1945.

For years, officials in Germany have searched for thousands people who managed death camps throughout the region.

The justice agency said 30 of the guards live in Germany, Reuters reported.

"The accused ... are all former guards at the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and we take the view that this job – regardless of what they can be individually accused of – makes them guilty of complicity in murder," said chief prosecutor Kurt Schirm, according to Reuters.

Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk, a U.S. mechanic, died last year at 91 while he was appealing a five-year jail sentence for complicity in the murder of more than 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp in Poland. His death has prompted outrage from citizens who want the guards prosecuted, many of who called for speedy trials.

Demjanjuk was the first Nazi war criminal to be convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime or victim but purely on the grounds he had served as a guard at a death camp.

The Ludwigsburg agency will hand over its findings to prosecutors in 11 German states who will decide whether to bring charges against the 30 survivors.

On Monday, a 92-year-old man who served in the Waffen-SS, Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi fighting force, went on trial as he is accused of shooting and killing a Dutch resistance fighter in 1945.

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