Ger­many seeks to bring wartime killer to jus­tice

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

A DOGGED Ger­man pros­e­cu­tor has charged an 86-year-old man with three wartime mur­ders of which he was orig­i­nally con­victed al­most 60 years ago.

Dort­mund pros­e­cu­tor Ul­rich Maass told a news agency that he has charged Heinrich Boere with the mur­ders in 1944 of three Dutch civil­ians when Boere was a mem­ber of a death squad code-named Sil­ber­tanne (Sil­ver Pine).

Boere was con­victed of the same mur­ders in 1949 in the Nether­lands. A death sen­tence was later com­muted to life im­pris­on­ment but he has man­aged to stay out of prison ever since.

The pros­e­cu­tor has now filed the charges once again in a fi­nal at­tempt to bring Boere to jus­tice. It was not im­me­di­ately clear when Boere might be brought to trial, said his lawyer Gor­don Chris­tiansen, who would not com­ment on the charges, say­ing he had not yet seen the of­fi­cial doc­u­ments.

The Nether­lands had sought Boere’s ex­tra­di­tion, but in 1983 a Ger­man court re­fused on the ground that he might have Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship. At that time, Ger­many had no pro­vi­sion to ex­tra­dite its na­tion­als.

A state court in Aachen, in west­ern Ger­many, ruled in 2007 that Boere could legally serve his sen­tence in Ger­many.

But an ap­peals court in Cologne over­turned the rul­ing, say­ing the 1949 con­vic­tion was in­valid be­cause Boere was un­able to present a defence. Af­ter this, Herr Maass qui­etly re­opened the case from scratch.

The son of a Dutch man and Ger­man wo­man, Boere was 18 when he joined the Waf­fen SS — the fa­nat­i­cal paramil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion faith­ful to Hitler’s ide­ol­ogy — at the end of 1940, only months af­ter his coun­try had fallen to the Nazi blitzkrieg.

Af­ter tak­ing part in the in­va­sion of the Soviet Union, he ended up back in the Nether­lands as part of Sil­ber­tanne, a Waf­fen SS death squad com­posed mostly of Dutch vol­un­teers. They had the job of killing fel­low coun­try­men in reprisal for at­tacks by the re­sis­tance.

The unit was sus­pected of a to­tal of 54 killings and Boere has ad­mit­ted to tak­ing part in three, ac­cord­ing to Dutch court doc­u­ments.

PHOTO: AP

Heinrich Boere pic­tured in his home town of Eschweiler, Ger­many, in 2003

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