Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Number Four on SWC's "Most Wanted" List Arrested in Germany

Auschwitz - Hans Lipschis superimposed 2
It has been roughly 68 years since Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to General Eisenhower May 7, 1945. Think of that – 68 years!

I just read an email from the Simon Wiesenthal Center that Germany has finally decided to prosecute a German Concentration Camp guard for his involvement in the murders of 1.3 million people MOST of whom were Jews.

Here is the email followed by a cross post of the link to a BBC News story about 93 year old Hans Lipschis who has escaped justice and has still lived to be accountable for his part in killing Jews in the Nazi ethnic cleansing that history has labeled the Holocaust.

JRH 5/8/13
Number Four on SWC's "Most Wanted" List Arrested in Germany

Email sent by Simon Wiesenthal Center
Sent: May 6, 2013 3:03 PM

"Perhaps we would not be seeing the resurgence of neo-Nazi criminal activity today if a better job had been done convicting and punishing perpetrators for their crimes during the Holocaust,"    — Dr. Efraim Zuroff, SWC Chief Nazi Hunter

The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the arrest in Germany of Auschwitz SS-Death's Head guard Hans (Antanas) Lipschis, number four on the Center's "2013 Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals" list.

The Center noted that Lipschis served from October 1941 until January 1945 in the most notorious of Nazi death camps, where approximately 1,300,000 inmates were murdered, among them approximately 1,100,000 Jews.

"Lipschis' arrest is a welcome first step in what we hope will be a large number of successful legal measures taken by the German judicial authorities against death camp personnel and those who served in the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units), which together murdered more than three million Jews during the Holocaust," said Dr. Zuroff.

His arrest was made possible by the 2011 conviction in Munich of Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk, who was the first Nazi war criminal convicted in Germany after many decades, without evidence being presented to the court of a specific crime with a specific victim. The importance of that verdict is that it provides a legal basis for the prosecution of many Holocaust peretrators (sic), who spent lengthy periods in carrying out mass murder, but would otherwise have escaped prosecution.

"There is no small irony in the fact that on the day of the opening of the most important trial of a neo-Nazi in recent years in Germany, the German authorities arrested a guard of the notorious Auschwitz death camp," continued Dr. Zuroff.

"Despite the passage of decades since the latter committed his crimes, the prosecution of Holocaust perpetrators remains extremely significant. The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers and old age should not afford protection to those who committed such terrible atrocities," Dr. Zuroff concluded.

Germany arrests 'former Auschwitz guard' Hans Lipschis

6 May 2013 Last updated at 13:04 ET 

A 93-year-old alleged former guard at the Auschwitz extermination camp has been arrested in southern Germany.

Hans Lipschis was taken into custody in Aalen after prosecutors concluded there was "compelling evidence" that he had been complicit in murder.

Mr Lipschis acknowledges he served with the Waffen SS at the camp in occupied Poland, but claims he was only a cook.

Last month, the Simon Wiesenthal Center named him as number four on its list of most-wanted Nazis.

The organisation accused him of participating in the mass murder and persecution of innocent civilians, primarily Jews, at Auschwitz between October 1941 and 1945.

"This is a very positive step, we welcome the arrest, I hope this will only be the first of many arrests, trials and convictions of death camp guards," the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Efraim Zuroff told AFP news agency.

Mr Lipschis is the first person arrested as a result of a series of new investigations launched by the German authorities into some 50 former Auschwitz guards who are still alive.

His house was searched by police and he was then brought before a judge and remanded in custody.

An indictment against him is currently being prepared, according to the Stuttgart prosecutor's office.

Demjanjuk precedent

Auschwitz was the biggest Nazi extermination camp, where more than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered.

Prosecutors have pointed to a re-interpretation of criminal law after the conviction of John Demjanjuk in May 2011.

Demjanjuk was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews while he was a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

His case means that potential defendants might no longer be able to hide behind the argument, in court, that they were simply following orders.

Mr Lipschis' wartime identification papers prove he belonged to an SS company deployed as guards in Auschwitz. He was reportedly granted "ethnic German" status by the Nazis.

He has told neighbours and reporters he worked only as a cook and saw nothing of the gas chambers and crematoria.

One German newspaper has previously reported that Mr Lipschis, who was born in what is now Lithuania in 1919, finished World War II fighting for Germany on the eastern front.

He moved to Chicago in the US in 1956, where he lived until 1983, when he was expelled for having concealed his Nazi past.

At the time it could not be proved that he was personally responsible for any killings.

He returned to Germany and his whereabouts, in Aalen, have apparently always been known to the authorities.
Number Four on SWC's "Most Wanted" List Arrested in Germany

© Copyright 2013 Simon Wiesenthal Center 1399 South Roxbury, Los Angeles, CA 90035. (310) 553-9036
Germany arrests 'former Auschwitz guard' Hans Lipschis

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