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Germany prosecutors charge former Nazi for 1944 killing

German prosecutors on Monday charged 91-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS [USHMM backgrounder] Siert Bruins with the murder of a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944. The Dortmund prosecutor [official website, in German] accused Bruins of executing [AP report] captured Dutch Nazi-opposition fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 outside the town of Appingedam. Bruins and an accomplice, who has since died, are accused of taking Dijkema, a prisoner at the time, to an isolated location and then shooting him four times. The suspects reported at the time that Dijkema had been trying to escape when they shot him. The case has been assigned to a separate court in Hagen to determine whether the case should proceed. Bruins, who obtained German citizenship through his service in the German military, has been taken into custody. Bruins has already served time in the 1980s for the murders of two Dutch Jews during the war.

Germany has recently reopened investigations [JURIST report] and begun prosecuting Nazis for war crimes. In March John Demjanjuk, a former guard at a Nazi death camp who had been convicted in Germany of helping to murder thousands during the Holocaust, died while awaiting his appeal [JURIST reports]. In January German prosecutors filed a motion [JURIST report] to jail Klaas Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands in 1947 of Nazi war crimes. In September 2011 alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro died while he awaited an appeal [JURIST report] on his acquittal on war crimes charges. The Dortmund state prosecutor also brought murder charges [JURIST report] against another former Waffen SS soldier, Heinrich Boere, for killing three Dutch resistance fighters in July 2009. The following year Boere was sentenced [JURIST report] to life in prison.

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