Alleged Auschwitz Guard Hans Lipschis Arrested In Germany

on May 06 2013 3:35 PM
Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is offering a reward for information leading to the indictment of suspected Nazis. Creative Commons/Ana Paula Hirama

An alleged Auschwitz guard, 93-year-old Hans Lipschis, was arrested in Germany and charged as an accessory to murder.

Lipschis was deported from the United States in 1983 after spending 33 years in the country and was arrested in Germany on Monday in Stuttgart, the Associated Press press. According to police, Lipschis served as an Auschwitz death camp guard. He admitted to being an S.S. guard in Auschwitz but served only as a cook and did not participate in any murders.

Lipschis immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s but was later deported because he lied about being a Nazi, AP notes. Police had arrested him after an investigation into his time serving as a S.S. guard in Auschwitz, between 1941 and 1945, yielding evidence that linked Lipschis to crimes committed at the death camp.

Stuttgart prosecutor Claudia Krauth said an arrest warrant was granted by a judge and formal charges against Lipschis for serving as an accessory to murder could take up to two months, AP notes.

The alleged Auschwitz guard is being charged under new German laws that relax the need for a direct connection to a murder or crime while serving at a death camp. The new laws can allow prosecutors to charge former Nazi guards as being an accessory to murder while serving at a death camp, because the primary goal of such a location was to kill, according to AP.

In a similar case, John Demjanjuk served as a guard at a Nazi extermination camp in Sobibor, Poland, and was convicted in 2011 as an accessory to murder but died during the appeals process. Despite being convicted, because Demjanjuk died during the appeals process, the Nazi guard is technically considered innocent, AP notes.

There could be 50 more people charged as accessories to murders, according to the prosecutors’ office responsible for handling Nazi war crimes, AP reports. Doctors have deemed Lipschis to be in good health and will remain in prison as he waits to be formally charged.

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