Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site © Rolf E. Staerk (shutterstock)
The International Auschwitz Committee criticizes failures of German justice in dealing with Nazi criminals. Charges had been brought too lateand many perpetrators had been able to live unencumbered, unlike the victims.
"The survivors, who are now also all very old, have waited all their lives for the perpetrators to be held accountable," Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers (Tuesday).
Criticism of late charges
The criticism is prompted by two recent indictments currently under consideration at the Itzehoe Regional Court against a 95-year-old former secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp and at the Neuruppin Regional Court against a 100-year-old former guard at the Sachsenhausen camp. Heubner called the fact that this was only happening now "a failure and an omission of the German justice system that has spanned decades".
Knowing that the perpetrators from the camps could have lived their lives mostly unmolested and unthreatened, "without having to account for their misdeeds before a German court, has burdened the survivors their whole lives," Heubner said.
Every person in the "murder system" is partly responsible, he said
In the meantime, German jurisprudence has accepted that every person who served in "the murder system and wheelwork" of a German extermination camp is also jointly responsible for the "humiliation, torture and murder of the prisoners". The accused former secretary and the accused former security guard were also part of this wheelwork, Heubner said.
"For the survivors, it seems almost bizarre that these trials are taking place at a time when new Nazis are already inciting hatred again and glorifying what happened in the camps," Heubner said. The Neuruppin and Itzehoe public prosecutors investigated for several years until the two indictments were handed down at the end of January and the beginning of February.