The Nazis who were never brought to justice: The rogue’s gallery of Hitler’s henchmen who murdered Jews at WWII death camps but will never be punished for their crimes
Oskar Groening today finally faced justice for his involvement in the murder of 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz
Groeing admitted moral guilt for the crimes, but denied responsibility before he was jailed in a German court for four years
But Germany’s top war crimes prosecutor had a list of 50 former Nazi soldiers he wanted charged of mass murder during WWII
Many of Hitler’s footsoldiers fled Europe for the US and South America and assumed new identities to escape justice for 70 years
Many of them are now either dead or too old to go on trial
While Oskar Groening was today sentenced to four years in jail for facilitating the murder of 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz, none of them are ever likely to make it into the dock.
Kurt Schrimm of Germany’s Central Office for the investigation of National Socialist Crimes prepared prosecution papers against the former overseers who served at the Auschwitz extermination centre in Nazi occupied Poland during WWII.
Auschwitz, as well as being a vast prison camp where inmates worked until they died, was also the largest of the Nazi killing factories where an estimated 1.2 million people were put to death.
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Schrimm’s agencies went hunting for the former guards after the successful prosecution in Germany four years ago of John Demjanjuk an ex-guard at the Sobibor camp, in Poland, where in 2011 he was convicted of an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews.
Demjanjuk was out on bail pending the appeal against his five year sentence when he died aged 91 of natural causes.
The case against him set a legal precedent in Germany after he was found guilty without specific crimes being levelled against him and with no eyewitnesses to report individual acts of cruelty: it was enough that he was there for him to be found guilty of crimes against humanity.
Schrimm wanted similar trials for 50 guards who they had identified as serving at Auschwitz, most of whom lived in Germany, before old age claimed them.
Schrimm works with 20 people, including five prosecutors, two police officers, clerks and interpreters, at his office in Ludwigsburg.
‘We owe it to the victims and their families to bring these criminals to justice,’ he said. ‘Such crimes as they were involved with had never been visited upon the world before in human history.
‘We are no longer sitting at desks, waiting until the cases come to us. We went hunting for these people.’
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