Hubert Z, 95, last name withheld, will go on trial next month in Germany on charges of being an accessory to at least 3,681 murders while he served as an SS paramedic in the rank of sergeant in Auschwitz in 1943-44. The trial is scheduled to start on February 29 in Neubrandenburg, north-eastern Germany.
Last year, Oskar Groening, “the bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” was convicted of 300,000 counts of accessory to murder and sentenced to four years in prison. And last September German prosecutors charged a 91-year-old woman who worked in Auschwitz with 260,000 counts of accessory to murder.
Kurt Schrimm, director of Germany’s Investigation Center for Nazi Crimes, said back in 2013, “Someday there will be no more Nazi criminals to go after and then our organization will shut down, but until then, we will exhaust all investigation possibilities.” His agency employs 20 people, including seven focusing on just Auschwitz cases.
Dr Effraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter for the US-based Simon Weisenthal Center, told the Telegraph last year: “One of the most upsetting and disturbing facts I’ve learned in the course of the last 35 years is that most of the people who committed Holocaust crimes were perfectly normal. But what are you going to do – let them off because most people would have done it? No, that would be absurd. Imagine if they accepted superior orders as a defense – there would be no Nazi war criminals, only Hitler.”