German prosecutors announced Wednesday that they are contemplating charges against an 87-year-old man suspected of having been a Nazi prison guard. The German special prosecutors' office that pursues Nazi-era crimes is recommending that charges be filed [AP report] against the man alleged to have served as an SS guard at the Auschwitz [JURIST news archive] concentration camp during World War II. That office has turned the case over to prosecutors in Weiden, in Bavaria, which has jurisdiction over the area where the suspect last lived in Germany before moving abroad after the war. Weiden will determine whether to file charges, which could take over a month to decide. The man is accused of involvement in the killing of 344,000 Jews at Auschwitz in occupied Poland from April 1944 until some time before it was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. No other information about the suspect has been released, but he is believed to be a Slovak now living in Philadelphia [BBC report]. Information about the suspect apparently arose during the investigation of convicted Nazi prison guard John Demjanjuk [JURIST news archive], who was charged with accessory murder under the same legal theory that would be employed to charge this most recent Nazi suspect. About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940 and 1945.
Earlier this month Slovakian authorities announced that they have filed new charges against a 97-year-old Hungarian man arrested in Budapest in July on allegations of abusing and helping deport thousands of Jews. The Hungarian man was arrested after the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, submitted new evidence [JURIST report] to the Budapest prosecutor's office detailing the war crimes allegedly committed by Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a former senior Hungarian police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice. Earlier that month Hungarian prosecutors charged Csatary [JURIST report] with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk was convicted in German Court [JURIST report] in May 2011 as an accessory to over 28,000 murders and sentenced to five years in prison, but was released to a nursing home due to his age and deteriorating health. He was deported to Germany [JURIST report] from the US in May 2009 after the US Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal of a 2005 deportation order [JURST reports] by a US immigration judge. Demjanjuk died [JURIST report] in the nursing home in March awaiting an appeal of his conviction.