A former member of the Nazi SS has gone on trial in Germany charged with the wartime murder of three civilians in the Netherlands.
Heinrich Boere, 88, has previously acknowledged shooting dead three people in 1944, as reprisals for attacks by the Dutch resistance.
The trial went ahead after an appeal court ruled he was fit to be tried.
Anti-Nazi protesters gathered outside the court in Aachen as the trial opened. Relatives of some of the victims were also in court.
Heinrich Boere is charged with killing three men: Fritz Bicknese, a chemist and father of 12; bicycle seller Teun de Groot, who helped Jews go into hiding; and resistance member Frans Kusters.
He admitted the killings to Dutch authorities while in captivity after the war, but escaped before he could be brought to trial. He later fled to Germany.
He has also confessed to his role in interviews with the media. “Yes, I got rid of them,” he told Focus magazine. “It was not difficult. You just had to bend a finger.”
He told Spiegel magazine that he and his accomplices thought they were killing “terrorists”, adding: “We thought we were doing the right thing.”
A tribunal in Amsterdam sentenced him to death in absentia in 1949, a sentence later reduced to life in prison.
A Dutch extradition request was turned down by Germany in the early 1980s.
He was eventually indicted in Germany last year, but a court in Aachen then said he was unfit to stand trial due to health problems.
That ruling was reversed in July by an appeals court in Cologne.
Boere, who is of Dutch-German origin, was 18 when he joined the SS in 1940, shortly after the Germans overran his hometown of Maastricht.
After fighting on the Russian front, he went to Holland as part of an SS death squad codenamed Silbertanne (Silver Pine).
His statements to Dutch authorities are expected to form the basis for the prosecution’s case, AP news agency reported.
Defence lawyers have declined to say how they will try to counter the confession.
But even if he is convicted there remains some doubt over whether he will actually go to jail.
A 90-year-old former German infantry commander, Josef Scheungraber, was given a life sentence by a German court in August, but remains free while his appeal is heard.
After the trial he should be hung.
Human beings have this senseless nature to follow the mentality of the group with-out realizing how evil it is.
Sometimes, I pass by children playing in front of Botei Midrashim, and I hear them playing a game like, “Ver Geit Machen Dem Urrel Peigeren”, or “Der Urrel Zol Zein Ah Kappuroh”, and many other words.
When you ask them on the side, Don’t you see that it is wrong to talk that way about HKB”H’s Briot? They do agree, but they get swept in with group mentality.
“Yes, I got rid of them, It was not difficult. You just had to bend a finger.” I wish the court would rule the same way and call for a simple “bend of a finger” to do away with this animal
1. Is not the phrase “Nazi killer” redundant, if it refers to a Nazi who kills people?
2. The phrase might indicate one who kills Nazis.
3. It’s probably more interesting to note he was a Dutch traitor who joined the SS, and is charged only with killing non-Jews.
akuperma, of all the things to criticize about, you have to start making a game of semantics?
surprised akuperma isn’t calling him a zionist..
before the trial he should be hung just in case
he does not last to the end