Wednesday, November 18, 2009

German prosecutors charge Nazi war criminal

From The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Nov. 17, by David Rising:

Former SS sergeant lived in Germany for six decades unnoticed until Austrian student came across his name during research on 1945 massacre

...The student gave the information to state prosecutors near Storms' hometown of Duisburg, and they have now filed charges against the 90-year-old on 58 counts of murder for the killings near the Austrian village of Deutsch Schuetzen, a German court said.

...The day following the massacre, [Adolf Storms, a former member of the 5th SS Panzer Division “Wiking.” ] is [also] accused of personally shooting another Jew who could no longer walk during a forced march in Austria from Deutsch Schuetzen to the village of Hartberg...

...The remains of the victims of the Deutsch Schuetzen massacre were found in 1995 in a mass grave by the Austrian Jewish association. A plaque now marks the site.

University of Vienna student Andreas Forster came across the suspect while investigating the massacre, and then obtained archival files from Germany that confirmed [Adolf Storms']involvement, his professor, Walter Manoschek, told The Associated Press. ......The Duisburg court still has to decide whether there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

Prosecutor Andreas Brendel said his investigation is ongoing, but so far three former members of the Hitler Youth, who were helping the SS guard the prisoners on the march, have provided witness statements in Austria. A fourth former Hitler Youth member, now living in Canada, is being interviewed this week, Mr. Brendel told the AP....

...Mr. Storms was interned in an American prisoner of war camp following the war, but was released in 1946. In the chaotic aftermath of the war, however, it was not uncommon for possible war criminals to slip through the cracks.

The Austrian press has reported the man changed the spelling of his name after World War II, perhaps helping him go undetected for so long.
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