A 90-year-old German man who served as an officer of the Nazi- era German armed forces, the Wehrmacht, during World War II has been sentenced to life imprisonment for ordering the execution of 10 Italian civilians in 1944.
The former company commander had denied the charges throughout the 11-month trial and had made a statement denying all knowledge of the events. But a former employee who worked in a carpentry business run by Josef S. testified that his boss had bragged about being present during the killings.
Josef S., a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht's Mountain Pioneer Batallion 818, was found guilty of having ordered two punitive operations at the end of June 1944. He told his men "to systematically search the area and arrest several persons, primarily males," said state prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz. Anyone resisting arrest was to be shot dead on the spot, and the arrested people were to be brought to a central location and killed. Josef S. was 25 at the time.
An Italian court had already sentenced Josef S. to life in absentia in 2006. He had lived in the town of Ottobrunn near Munich for decades.
Germany will hold another Nazi war crimes trial in October when Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk will face charges of being an accessory to 27,900 counts of murder at Nazi death camps.
cro -- with wire reports
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