Suspected former Auschwitz guard arrested
Stuttgart prosecutors allege suspect worked at the extermination camp from 1941 until 1945
The Nazis murdered some 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, at Auschwitz, near the Polish village of Oswiecim. Photograph: Getty Images
German police yesterday arrested a suspected former guard at the Auschwitz death camp named by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre as Hans Lipschis. Prosecutors in the southwestern city of Stuttgart did not name the man but said police had arrested a 93-year-old alleged former Auschwitz guard with the “strong suspicion” he was involved in murder there.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre said it welcomed the arrest of Lipschis - fourth on its list of most wanted Nazi criminals.
“The arrest of Lipschis is a welcome first step in what we hope will be a large number of successful legal measures taken by the German judicial authorities against death camp personnel and those who served in the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units),” said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, in an emailed statement.
The arrest was made possible by the 2011 conviction in Munich of Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk, the first Nazi war criminal convicted in Germany, without evidence of a specific crime or a specific victim, the Centre’s email said.
Demjanjuk, a retired US mechanic, died in March last year aged 91. A Munich court convicted him in 2011 for his role in the killing of 28,000 Jews as a Nazi death camp guard.
Lipschis, interviewed in German newspaper Die Welt last month, said he had been a cook in the camp and had left the camp to fight on the Eastern Front, although he could not remember which unit he was in.
Stuttgart prosecutors said the man arrested yesterday had worked at the extermination camp during World War Two, from 1941 until its liberation in 1945. Authorities had searched his flat, taken him into custody and were preparing charges against him.
The Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, at Auschwitz, near the Polish village of Oswiecim.