WJC President Lauder welcomes German efforts to prosecute more former Nazi camp guards


Investigators in Germany completed preliminary investigations into thousands of suspected former Nazi concentration camp guards and are to bring charges against eight people.

German Nazi hunter Jens RommelGerman Nazi hunter Jens RommelThe Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes found that four men and four women born between 1918 and 1927 who worked in the concentration camp Stutthof, near Gdansk, were still alive in Germany, according to the head of the agency, Jens Rommel.

While the men worked as security guards, the women were employed in jobs such as typists and telephone operators at the camp, Rommel said.

Furthermore, the Nazi hunters are looking at more possible suspects from the camps in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Majdanek and Neuengamme. All suspects could be charged with being an accessory to the murder of thousands of people, most of them Jews, during World War II.

Rommel expressed his hope for a quick ruling by the Federal Court in the appeal brought by former SS officer Oskar Gröning, the ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ who was convicted by a Lüneburg court last year.

“We hope that the High Court will clarify the legal situation,” Rommel said. The now 95-year-old Gröning was sentenced to four years in prison for being an accessory to murder in at least 300,000 cases at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Lauder: ‘It’s critical that those who took part in genocide are put on trial, irrespective of age’

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, welcomed Rommel’s statement. He said: “Germany’s commitment to identifying more former Nazi camp guards is encouraging. The World Jewish Congress welcomes the fact that Special Prosecutor Jens Rommel are continuing to bring to trial those who are suspected of having aided and abetted the murder of thousands of Jews in Nazi camps during World War II. He and his staff deserve praise and support for their efforts.

“Given the vast system of concentration and extermination camps put in place by the Nazis, and the number of personnel needed to run and guard these sites, it comes as no surprise that a few of these perpetrators are still alive, even today.

“It is critical that all those who took part in the genocide of Jews and crimes against humanity are put on trial, irrespective of their age.

“As Jews, we rightly expect that no stone be left unturned when it comes to dealing with Nazi crimes, and that anyone suspected of involvement in mass murder, who is still alive, be prosecuted.

“For decades, Germany did very little to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, but as long as it is still possible it must be done,” said Lauder.

In June 2016, former SS guard Reinhold Hanning became the latest Nazi war criminal to be convicted by a court.