Germany May Stage New War Crimes Trial
The trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich may not be Germany's last major war crimes prosecution. Authorities are investigating Samuel K., 88, a retired German civil servant accused of being a death camp guard in World War II and of helping to kill at least 430,000 Jews. Public prosecutors may file charges soon.
Germany may stage a further spectacular Holocaust trial in addition to the one currently taking place in Munich against alleged SS helper John Demjanjuk.
The Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes based in Ludwigsburg has completed its preliminary investigation into Samuel K. and produced an 80-page report. It will transfer the case to the public prosecutor's office in the city of Dortmund which may soon file charges against the 88-year-old ethnic German, who is accused of having been involved in the murder of at least 430,000 Jews in the Belzec death camp in occupied Poland between end-November 1941 and spring 1943. He is alleged to have been a guard at the camp.
K., a retired civil servant who now lives near the former West German capital Bonn, is accused of having shot dead Jewish prisoners himself on two occasions, according to the testimony of a former fellow guard who has since died. A survivor of Belzec described him as "one of the biggest murderers," according to the Ludwigsburg report.
K., a former member of staff in the West German Ministry for Regional and City Planning, was born in 1921 in the Soviet Union, and entered German service in the summer of 1941 when he was a Soviet prisoner of war. He received German citizenship three years later.
K. has appeared as a witness in several other cases but has until now never become the focus of an investigation himself. His name resurfaced during preparations for the Demjanjuk trial and he was questioned last year by officers from the Bavarian police.
An investigator from the Ludwigsburg office then collected incriminating information on him, including documents collated by the US Department of Justice in Eastern European archives.
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