A 94-YEAR-OLD man has been charged over the murders of 3,681 people at the Auschwitz extermination camp during the Second World War.
Identified only as Hubert Z., a photo of him in his Nazi S.S. uniform – emblazoned with the death’s head skull and double-lightning insignia of the feared military group – emerged today.
According to prosecutors in the city of Schwerin, north Germany, the now elderly man was a medical officer at Auschwitz. He has been charged with complicity in the murders of 3,681 people with officials confident of a successful prosecution.
He is believed to have been an S.S. Unterscharfuehrer (junior squad leader) at the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where at least 1.1 million people, most of them Jewish, were systematically murdered during the Second World War.
The indictment against Hubert Z., who lives in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the home state of Chancellor Angela Merkel – runs to 83 pages.
It is understood he was tracked down with the aid of the Simon Wiesenthal Nazi hunting agency in Israel and the Central Authority for the Prosecution of Nazi War Crimes in Germany.
“It is our contention that he underwrote the mass murder program while in Auschwitz,” said a prosecutor.
It is known that the accused was born in the state where he lives and learned agriculture at college before he joined the S.S. in 1940.
He served as a medical orderly in the concentration camps of Sachsenhausen and Neuengamme in Germany before being sent to Auschwitz where his service records show that he commanded the S.S. medical service between 15 August and 14 September 1944. After that he worked in a sub-camp of the vast complex.
He was sentenced by a Polish court in 1948 to four years imprisonment for his activities in the neighboring camp.
His lawyer, once the interior minister for former East Germany, Peter-Michael Diestel, said: “We have seen the files and can see no concrete evidence of criminal wrongdoing by our client.”
It is not clear whether he is thought to have been involved in the ghastly medical experiments that were conducted on defenseless and conscious people in Auschwitz led by Nazi ‘Angel of Death’, the camp doctor Josef Mengele.
Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, said: “For the survivors of Auschwitz this is all about justice, not revenge. Justice has had to wait decades.”
He added: “Those perpetrators who ensured, as members of the S.S., that the Auschwitz-Birkenau death factory worked smoothly, and that the Jewish families of Europe disappeared into the gas chambers, have developed no sense of awareness of wrongdoing over the years.
“Therefore these legal processes are first and foremost an inquiry to the Germans: who actually owns your compassion?”
Last week, a 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard was charged with 170,000 murders. German officials initially turned up some 30 former Auschwitz guards, three of them women, and intended to prosecute them all. However, most have been told they can die in their beds because of their illnesses.
One who will stand trial is Oskar Groening, known as The Bookkeeper, who is now 93 and who worked at Auschwitz sorting the possessions of the doomed to send back to his S.S. masters in Germany.
He is charged with complicity in the murders of 300,000 people.