Germany Charges 88-Year-Old With Killing Jews in World War II

An alleged Nazi camp guard questioned during the investigation of John Demjanjuk was charged by German prosecutors with the murder of Jews during World War II.

Samuel Kunz, 88, was charged by prosecutors in Dortmund, Germany, with shooting 10 Jews and aiding in the gassing of Jews at the Belzec camp in German-occupied Poland, the Bonn Regional Court said in an e-mailed statement today. Kunz served as a camp guard in Belzec from January 1942 to July 1943, prosecutors said.

“According to the indictment, more than 430,000 Jews were killed in the gas chambers there until July 1943,” the court said. “The accused is said to have participated as a guard.”

A lawyer for Demjanjuk, who is on trial on charges that he assisted in the murder of 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor extermination camp, cited Kunz’s case as an example of German authorities arbitrarily targeting Demjanjuk while other alleged guards were allowed to live freely in Germany for decades.

Uwe Krechel, Kunz’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Demjanjuk has denied the allegations against him.

Both Demjanjuk and Kunz served in the Russian Army, were captured by the Germans and then trained as guards at the Trawniki camp, according to prosecutors. Kunz, an ethnic German, moved to Germany after the war and gained citizenship.

The probe against Kunz was opened in June 2009 after a journalist gave Germany’s central Nazi crime investigation unit a tip, Kurt Schrimm, head of that unit, said. Kunz was questioned as a witness in the Demjanjuk investigation, Schrimm said.

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