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September 27, 2013

93-year-old former Auschwitz guard will go on trial as an accessory to murder

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:21 am

You can read the news of an impending trial of a former cook at Auschwitz in The Guardian newspaper here.

This quote is from the news article:

German prosecutors on Thursday charged a 93-year-old alleged former guard at the Auschwitz death camp as an accessory to murder, part of a renewed drive to bring lower-level Nazi collaborators to justice before they die.

The prosecution service in the city of Stuttgart said the accused worked as a guard at Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland from 1941 to 1943. During that time they say he was on duty when 12 prisoner convoys arrived at the death camp. More than 10,000 of those prisoners were determined unfit for work and sent to the gas chamber immediately on arrival.

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944 (Click on the photo to enlarge)

The photo above shows a train load of Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

How many Jews were on each convoy to Auschwitz?  A thousand Jews on each train?  If more than 10,000 prisoners were killed after they arrived on 12 convoys, there must have been 1,000 Jews on each train.

From 1941 to 1943, there were four gas chambers in operation at Auschwitz-Birkenau, so that means that the capacity of those four chambers was 10,000 Jews per day.  This sounds like a gross exaggeration to me.

This quote is also from the news article in The Guardian:

The head of the German agency that probes Nazi war crimes, Kurt Schrimm, said the accused was on a list of 30 former Auschwitz guards it wants to prosecute for their role in facilitating mass murder.

“The investigation was short but intensive. We looked for documents that showed that [the accused] was on duty on particular days when the transports came in,” said Claudia Krauth, state prosecutor for the Stuttgart court. “If we have proof that someone has committed a crime, we are required to prosecute that person.”


[This man’s] arrest was made possible by the 2011 conviction in Munich of Ivan Demjanjuk, who was found to have been an accessory to the murder of almost 28,000 Jews in Sobibor by virtue of having served as a guard at a death camp. He was the first ex-Nazi convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime or a specific victim.

[The accused man] told the German newspaper Die Welt this year that he had been a cook at Auschwitz and had later left the camp to fight on the eastern front, although he could not remember which unit he had been in.

Demjanjuk lying on a stretcher in the courtroom Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ivan Demjanjuk lying on a stretcher in the courtroom Photo Credit: Getty Images

According to the precedent established at the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk, anyone who was present at a concentration camp, where a Jew was killed, is guilty of a crime, even if the accused had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime.

This was a new law established by the Allies after World War II, know as the “common plan” principle of guilt.  Anyone who was present in a concentration camp, in any capacity, was guilty of a crime if anyone died in the camp.

I previously blogged about the “common plan” theory of guilt at

The war crimes trials were planned by the Allies long before the war crimes were even committed, so why shouldn’t the trials continue until the last German soldier is dead and buried.

According to Robert E. Conot, author of the book entitled Justice at Nuremberg, the idea of bringing the German war criminals to justice was first voiced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on October 7, 1942, when he declared: “It is our intention that just and sure punishment shall be meted out to the ringleaders responsible for the organized murder of thousands of innocent persons in the commission of atrocities which have violated every tenet of the Christian faith.”

Roosevelt was referring to atrocities committed in the concentration camps, beginning in 1933; most of the war crimes that were prosecuted, after the war, by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau had not yet been committed.

The Declaration of St. James on January 13, 1942 announced British plans for war crimes trials even before the British BBC first broadcast the news of the gassing of the Jews in June 1942. On December 17, 1942, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told the House of Commons: “The German authorities are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe.”

On October 26, 1943, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, composed of 15 Allied nations, met in London to discuss the trials of the German war criminals which were already being planned by the Allies, even before the war was won. That same year, in 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin issued a joint statement, called the Moscow Declaration, in which they agreed to bring the German war criminals to justice after the war.

The United States participated in war crimes trials in Europe under three jurisdictions: the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, the U.S. Military Tribunals at Nuremberg, and the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. The authority for the proceedings of all three jurisdictions derived from the Moscow Declaration, called the Declaration of German Atrocities, which was released on November 1, 1943. This declaration, which was made long before many of the war crimes were committed, expressed the Allied plan to arrest and bring to justice Axis war criminals.

If only the names of the 10,000 Jews, who were gassed at Auschwitz, when the accused man was a cook at Auschwitz, then the relatives could be in the courtroom to see that justice is served.  Unfortunately, the Nazis did not keep a record of the names of the 10,000 Jews who were gassed.