Auschwitz medic arrested by German police on charges of aiding and abetting murder

Tuesday 18 March 2014 13.45
More than one million people were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp
More than one million people were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

German police have arrested a former Nazi medic who served at the Auschwitz death camp, on multiple charges of aiding and abetting murder, prosecutors have said.

The 93-year-old, who was arrested at his home near Neubrandenburg north of Berlin, underwent a medical check-up before he faced a judge and was taken into pre-trial detention.

The former SS member allegedly assisted in the mass murder of prisoners who arrived on eight transports from Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia in September 1944.

Of the arrivals, 1,721 were killed in gas chambers after they were deemed unfit for forced labour at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, located in Oswiecim, southern Poland, prosecutors said.

The pensioner's arrest followed a tip-off from the German office investigating Nazi war crimes, with a recommendation to bring charges.

It was the latest in a series of arrests since Germany launched a renewed drive to bring to justice the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust.

For more than 60 years German courts had only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if evidence showed they had personally committed atrocities.

But in 2011 a Munich court sentenced John Demjanjuk to five years in prison for complicity in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibor camp, establishing that all former camp guards can be tried.

Auschwitz has become an enduring symbol of Nazi Germany's genocide of European Jews, of whom one million were killed there from 1940 to 1945.

More than 100,000 others, including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexuals and anti-Nazi partisans also died at the camp in occupied Poland before it was liberated by Russian forces on 27 January, 1945.