Europe

Germany arrests three suspected Auschwitz guards

  • 20 February 2014
  • From the section Europe
Entrance to Auschwitz Birkenau death camp (file pic)
Image caption Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest death camp in World War Two Nazi-occupied Poland

Three men aged 88, 92 and 94 have been detained by German authorities on suspicion of being guards at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

The homes of a number of men were raided in three German states, months after prosecutors investigating Nazi-era war crimes announced they were recommending charges against 30 people.

The three men taken into custody have been sent to a prison hospital.

More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz.

The three men detained all live in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and are suspected of involvement in murders that took place between 1942-45. They were taken to Hohenasperg prison hospital in Ludwigsburg, reports say.

Raids also took place in the states of Hessen and North Rhine-Westphalia, although none of the suspects was arrested.

The decision to take action against alleged Nazi guards followed the conviction in May 2011 of John Demjanjuk.

A court decided that by being a worker at a concentration camp he was guilty of being an accessory to murder. This meant that courts did not have to prove active participation in killing to find a suspect guilty of murder, BBC Berlin correspondent Stephen Evans reports.

Demjanjuk, who died in 2012 aged 91, had denied being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

He had been sentenced to five years in jail for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 people but died in a home for the elderly while the case was pending appeal.

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