30 Auschwitz guards may be charged in Germany


People arrive to lay roses at the Gleis 17 (Track 17) memorial on the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Berlin to concentration camps during World War II on Oct. 18, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. On Oct. 18, 1941, the Nazis began deporting Jewish residents of Berlin by rail to concentration camps, including to Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz. Track 17, the original platform from which many Jews were crowded into freight cars for deportation, lists the dates, origins, destinations and numbers of Jews transported.


Sean Gallup

Germany's special prosecutors' office that investigates Nazi war crimes said Tuesday that it is recommending 30 alleged former Auschwitz death camp guards be charged.

The head of Ludwigsburg's federal prosecutor's office Kurt Schrimm said enough evidence has been gathered to recommend charges of accessory to murder be pursued against 30 of 49 suspects who had been investigated.

The alleged Auschwitz guards, all now aged up to 97, with the oldest born in 1916 and the youngest in 1926, are spread across Germany. Their names and hometowns have not been released.

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"The cases will be handed over to the respective public prosecutor’s offices," Schrimm said.

Another seven suspects — living in Austria, Brazil, Croatia, the US, Poland and Israel — are still being investigated. Two have not been found and one case has already been sent to prosecutors.

Two years ago, the legal theory used to charge death-camp workers was changed by Munich prosecutors who tried former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk.

Demjanjuk died in a Bavarian nursing home last year while appealing his five-year sentence for his role in the deaths of more than 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, where he was a guard.

It was ruled that despite a lack of evidence that he directly committed murder, his role as a death-camp worker facilitated mass murder.

Auschwitz was the biggest Nazi death camp during WWII, with more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, murdered there.