A 90-year-old former Nazi killer has commenced a life sentence in prison, according to various European media reports.
Heinrich Boere, a member of the dreaded Wafffen SS, has already admitted to killing three Dutch civilians in German-occupied Holland in 1944.
Like many Nazi soldiers that were brought to justice before him, Hoere insisted he was only following the orders of his commanders
He was sentenced for the killings in March 2010.
Confined to a wheelchair and ailing from heart problems, Boere was transported by ambulance from a German nursing home in Aachen to a prison hospital.
Agence France Presse reported he was sent to an unnamed prison in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The jail term became a reality after a court in Germany rejected appeals by his lawyers and by the determination of medical experts that Hoere was fit to serve a prison sentence in a ‘suitable” facility.
According to the testimony, Hoere’s victims were Fritz Bicknese, a father of twelve children; Frans Kusters, a Dutch resistance member; and Teun de Groot, a Dutchman who helped Jews go into hiding.
During the trial, Hoere declared that had he not followed orders to kill the men, he, too, would have been sent to a concentration camp and perhaps killed.
I knew that if I didn't carry out my orders I would be breaking my oath and would be shot myself, he told the court.
At no time in 1944 did I act with the feeling that I was committing a crime. Today, after 65 years, I naturally see things from a different perspective.
However, the presiding judge Gerd Nohl countered that the killings were carried out on a totally random basis.”
These were murders that could hardly be outdone in terms of baseness and cowardice - beyond the respectability of any soldier, said the judge.
Raised in Holland, and half-Dutch himself, the 18-year-old Hoere joined the Waffen SS in 1940 when German seized his hometown of Maastricht.
After the war, he escaped a POW camp in Holland and moved to Germany.
In absentia. Hoere was convicted of the aforementioned killings by a Dutch tribunal and sentenced to death in 1949 -- although this was later commuted to a life sentence.
Hoere was able to spend the next sixty years in relative peace in Germany as Bonn officials refused to extradite him back to the Netherlands. Finally, a German court indicted him in April 2008 for the murders.
Efraim Zuroff of the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre told Associated Press at the time of Hoere’s conviction: It also underscores the significance of the renewed activity on the part of the German prosecution.”