Demjanjuk Fallout: New SS War Crimes Suspect Emerges in Germany

After John Demjanjuk and Samuel K., German prosecutors are now accusing a third former SS camp guard of war crimes. Ukrainian-born Alex N., who is over 90, is accused of being involved in the shooting of Jewish prisoners at the Treblinka I labor camp. A decision will now be taken whether to charge him.

The front gate of the Nazi extermination camp Belzec in Poland. Zoom
Corbis

The front gate of the Nazi extermination camp Belzec in Poland.

A former concentration camp guard who testified as a witness in the trial of John Demjanjuk in February may himself now face prosecution for war crimes.

The man, identified only as Alex N., is accused of having taken part in the shooting of Jewish prisoners at the Treblinka I forced labor camp northeast of Warsaw, according to the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwisburg, southwestern Germany.

He was born in Ukraine in 1917 and has lived in the Bavarian city of Landshut since the end of World War II. He became a German citizen in 1991.

A judge at the Ludwigsburg office spent half a year investigating him and combed through US archives in her research. Other camp guards interrogated in the Soviet Union had claimed that N. had bragged about shooting Jewish prisoners.

The Ludwigsburg Office has now completed its preliminary investigation and is passing on its report to the Munich state prosecutor's office, which has already started its own investigation and will decide whether to charge Alex N.

Third SS Trial in a Year?

He is believed to have been trained by the SS at the same camp in Trawniki, near the Polish town of Lublin, as Demjanjuk was.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, a retired auto worker accused of helping to murder 27,900 Jews in 1943 in the Sobibor death camp in Poland, has been on trial in Munich since November last year.

Alex N. could be the third alleged SS camp to face charges in less than a year after Demjanjuk and Samuel K., 88, who was charged at the end of July with taking part in the killing of 430,000 Jews at the Belzec death camp in 1942 and 1943.

Samuel K.'s case came to light during investigations into Demjanjuk.

German prosecutors have stepped up efforts to bring the last surviving perpetrators to justice in recent years. However, they admit that Demjanjuk was only a tiny cog in the Holocaust machinery. Far more senior SS members got off with lenient sentences or were acquitted in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s.

SPIEGEL Staff

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