Germans Arrest 3 Former Auschwitz Guards

This January 1941 photo shows railroad tracks leading to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.  (AP Photo/File)

This January 1941 photo shows railroad tracks leading to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.
(AP Photo/File)

The Germans murdered millions during WWII, and millions of them were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps in Poland. There were over 7,000 SS personnel who served at Auschwitz from the time of the camp’s construction in 1940 to the camp’s liberation by the Red Army in January 1945.  Over 800 former guards were arrested, including camp commandant Rudolf Hoess.

German authorities, in a last push to punish Nazi atrocities, have raided the homes of nine suspected former guards at the Auschwitz death camp. Three men aged 88, 92, and 94 were arrested yesterday in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and are now in a prison hospital, reports the AP. Officials say “diverse papers and documents from the Nazi era” were seized from the men’s homes, but not enough evidence was uncovered for the other six men to be arrested.

The only suspect to make a statement was the 88-year-old, who admitted being a guard at the camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered but denied committing any crimes. The effort to track down former Auschwitz guards was launched after the conviction of John Demjanjuk, in which a court decided that being a guard at a death camp was enough to warrant conviction for being an accessory to murder, the BBC reports. “This is a major step,” says the chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. “Given the advanced age of the defendants, every effort should be made to expedite their prosecution.”


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Posted by on February 21, 2014. Filed under NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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14 Responses to Germans Arrest 3 Former Auschwitz Guards

  1. rowdy62

    February 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

    A lot of Germans are unhappy that the govt is still chasing Nazis. I don’t think they should stop until they’re all caught of dead.

  2. James Smith

    February 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I have to wonder, what good will come from prosecuting 90 y/o men when merely being a guard is enough to convict them.

    If that is good enough, why aren’t prison guards in the USA being tried for being accomplices to the rape, torture, and crimes against humanity that occur in US prisons every day? Oh, because it’s “us” and not “them”?

    Like waterboarding is torture when “they” do it, but not when “we” do it?

    • Quarles

      February 21, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Where do you find your information about US prison guards? Show me the link that opens up pages of information about US prison guards killing millions of people. You are irresponsible in your reporting of the thousands of good people working in jails and prisons. Show us facts not made up lies.

      • James Smith

        February 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

        You missed the point. If simply being there is enough reason to charge someone, then US prison guards are as guilty as anyone else. They don’t have to participate, only be in the area.

        You can take that far enough to imagine that, if you are in the same building as a burglary and do nothing to stop it, you are an accessory, too.

        I gave no information at all about prison guards, I was using that as a hypothetical illustration.

        You are irresponsible in your comprehension and thinking.

        As an aside, where is the proof that these particular German guards “killed millions of people”?

        I am confident that there were guards that actively, eagerly participated in torture and killings. There were also others that did not, but were powerless to prevent it.

        The same situation exists in any prison, anywhere in the world.

        • Timmy Mahoney

          February 21, 2014 at 10:20 am

          People have no duty to stop a crime in progress. If someone happens to be in a building where a burglary is occurring they are not required to do anything. Common sense dictates they try to stay out of harm’s way.

          • James Smith

            February 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

            You miss the point, too. That was an example of where the thinking could lead if being present during the commission of a crime makes you an accessory.

            Common sense and a regard for others dictates they call the police. But maybe what happens to others isn’t important to everyone?

            Prison guards often have no power when something is at least tacitly approved by superiors. To whom are they going to report it?

            If there is clear and verifiable evidence they were someone who “actively and eagerly” participated, that’s a different case. There is no statute of limitations for torture and murder.

            • Paul Gallagher

              February 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm

              With respect Mr. Smith you are mistaken. To be an accessory you have to be involved in the planning or commission of a crime, either before, during or after the fact. Because you are there when a crime is happening makes you a victim, and you are not required, nor encouraged to put yourself at risk by calling police.

              • James Smith

                February 22, 2014 at 5:36 am

                Caramba! You people are dense! As I said, I was making an example that, if simply being in a place while those crimes were being committed makes the guards an accessory, even if they had no part in planning or committing it, it can eventually be extended to ridiculous extremes. Sheesh!

                • Paul Gallagher

                  February 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

                  No sir, we’re not thick. You’re simply unable to express yourself clearly.

                  • James Smith

                    February 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

                    Yes, you’re thick. Very few had any problem understanding it.

                    I have reread my post and, as a technical writer with decades of experience, I can state it was written correctly for the intended audience.

                    Perhaps you’re not thick but simply enjoy disagreeing to try to make others look bad.

  3. Bill Formby

    February 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I think James makes a good point. Likely their were guards at the prison camps that did not like what they were doing but were following orders. We have decided that following orders is not an excuse for being there and not doing anything, But, in prisons in this country there are correctional officers who do abuse inmates physically, sexually, and psychologically. Other officers know it is happening and they say nothing because, just like in police work, you depend on your buddies to have your back. This is not to say that all of them are this way but in an institution that is as closely monitored as most prisons are these days, it is very difficult to believe that others do not know what the rogues are doing.

    • Paul Gallagher

      February 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I agree that there are abuses in the system, but that holds true for any “system.” Certainly some of these abuses are covered up, or just not addressed by fellow workers, but that’s the nature of many businesses and organizations. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked “behind the walls” but it’s a living hell, and given the nature of the “beasts” I can understand why from time to time people get “hurt.” In most cases it’s well deserved.

      • James Smith

        February 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

        “In most cases it’s well deserved.” Then that justifies abuses?

        As Harry Truman said. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

      • Bill Formby

        February 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        Paul, I have never been a corrections officer if that is what you mean but I have be in most every type of prison you can name. I know a lot of people who work in prisons and a friend of mine was once the Director of Corrections for the State of Alabama. So I am very familiar what goes on in prison. There is never an excuse for abuse of inmates. People do get hurt but usually it is due to confrontations and it not due what they deserved.
        Being a correctional officer is a difficult job and everyone is not cut out for it. It does sound like you may be one who is not.