Nazi to Stand Trial in Murder of 3,400 Jews
A former SS concentration camp commandant was charged today with involvement in the murder of more than 3,400 Jews, including at least 50 he is said to have killed himself.
Josef Schwammberger, 78, brought back to West Germany on May 3 from Argentina, was declared fit to stand trial by the public prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart.
It said the trial will probably begin early next year, making Schwammberger the first Nazi war criminal to be tried in a united Germany. The two Germanys will merge later this year.
Schwammberger was formally charged with personally having killed at least 50 Jewish men and women in Poland from 1941 to 1944. He was also accused of involvement in the murder of another 3,377 Jews whose execution he ordered.
If found guilty, he faces prison for life.
The prosecution said Schwammberger, a lieutenant in Hitler’s Waffen SS and a commandant of concentration camps, had cruelly murdered Jews “out of his own self-declared fullness of power and out of his own resolve based on racial hatred.”
Survivors of concentration camps in Przemysl and Mielec have accused Schwammberger of smashing children’s heads against a wall, throwing men, women and children into bonfires and shooting prisoners at point-blank range.