94-year-old Nazi war criminal deemed unfit to stand trial in Germany


Prosecutors in Stuttgart are shelving their war crimes investigation of a 94-year-old man who already was convicted of Nazi war crimes in Italy.

Former SS soldier Wilhelm Kusterer of Engelsbrand —  who was found guilty of involvement in the massacre of 770 civilians in Marzabotto, Italy, in 1944 and sentenced to life in prison in absentia in 2008 — was too ill to stand trial, the prosecutors said. A spokesman for the prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to get a conviction in Germany, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The German investigation was launched in 2013.

In March 2015, Kusterer, who had served for years in the Engelsbrand parliament as a member of the Social Democratic Party, received an honorary medal for social services from his town. But he returned the medal last March following protests mounted from Italy against honoring a convicted war criminal.

Nazi guard may be tried in Germany


Prosecutors in the Bavarian city of Weiden think they have a good chance of bringing an 87-year-old former Auschwitz guard to trial.

An investigation of the man — whose name has not yet been released by the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes — shows that he volunteered for the Waffen SS in 1942 and was trained as a guard, according to the German news agency dpa. 

The guard worked at the arrivals ramp and in a guard tower at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he has been accused of contributing “significantly” to the murder of at least 344,000 people in the gas chambers in 1944. According to the report, most of the victims were Jews from Hungary.

The man reportedly has lived for decades abroad, but now is a registered resident of a community in the Neustadt / Waldnaab district, which is why the court of Weiden has been chosen for a trial. Permanent residents of Germany are required to register with local police.

Kurt Schrimm, head of the central investigation office, told the Oberfalz.net online newspaper that the case was a direct result of the verdict against former concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk, who died in March after being convicted as an accessory to murder of nearly 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. He was sentenced to five years in prison but the case was on appeal when he died.

Schrimm said the Demjanjuk case “triggered a shift in the interpretation of the law,” expressly allowing courts to go after war criminals who enabled others to commit murder. Since then, the investigative body has aggressively pursued similar cases, starting with those that look most promising, he told Oberfalz.net.

Accused Nazi dies before denaturalization trial


A retiree living near Seattle, Wash., accused of committing genocide and other crimes as a Nazi officer during World War II died a month before his denaturalization trial.

Peter Egner, 88, died last week in an assisted-living community in Bellevue, Reuters reported Monday, citing a facility representative who did not give her name.

Egner, a Yugoslavia native, is accused of joining in April 1941 the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in German-occupied Belgrade, a Nazi mobile killing unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serbian civilians during World War II.

Egner came to the United States in 1960 and became a citizen six years later.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in 2008 attempting to strip Egner of his citizenship, saying he lied about his Nazi past on his citizenship application.

Egner has admitted volunteering to serve in the Security Police and Security Service as well as guarding prisoners as they were being transferred to concentration camps. He also admitted serving as an interpreter during interrogations of political prisoners that sometimes involved severe torture. Prisoners often were executed following their interrogations.

Serbia’s justice minister on Nov. 26 formally requested Egner’s extradition to stand trial in Serbia.

Meanwhile, on Monday, an immigration judge in Detroit ordered the deportation of John Kalymon of Troy, Mich., who is accused of committing violent acts against Jews during World War II as a member of the Nazi-sponsored Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in Nazi-occupied Lvov.

Kalymon, who became a U.S. citizen in 1955 after emigrating from Germany six years earlier, had his citizenship revoked in March 2007. A federal judge concluded that Kalymon took part in wartime violence against Jews and lied about it to immigration authorities.

Kalymon, whose former first name was Iwan, denies the accusations.