BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s Central Office for Investigation of Nazi Crimes has handed nine potential new cases against former concentration camp guards to prosecutors in Germany and Austria.
If tried, the nine men and women — who variously live in both countries — would be charged as accessories to murder in several camps. The cases, already investigated by the Central Office in Ludwigsburg, were handed to local prosecutors for potential indictment, according to news reports in the Berlin-based daily Taz newspaper and elsewhere.
Jean Rommel, who heads the Central Office in Ludwigsburg, Germany, confirmed to the German news media that the nine men and women, most of them in their 90s, were stationed at the Ravensbrueck and Buchenwald concentration camps in Germany, at Mauthausen in Austria, and at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
The 2011 conviction in Munich of former concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk as an accomplice in the murders of nearly 30,000 Jews in the Sobibor death camp in Poland set a precedent in that being a guard at a death camp was sufficient to prove complicity in murder.
Since then, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, has encouraged the public to provide tips on possible perpetrators, an effort titled “Operation Last Chance.”
In related news, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor in Minnesota recently provided testimony that led to the indictments in Germany of two former guards at the Stutthof concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland as accomplices to murder. It remains to be seen whether they will be deemed fit to stand trial.
If so, then Judith Meisel is ready to bear witness against them, she told the NEWSER online publication in November.