18 Nov 2009

Former Nazi, now 90, charged with murdering Jews

5:01 pm on 18 November 2009

A 90-year-old German man has been charged with the murder of 58 Jewish labourers during World War II.

Prosecutors say the man was a member of the Nazi SS. Identified only as a "retiree from Duisburg", he is accused of joining other SS members in shooting the labourers near the Austrian village of Deutsch Schuetzen.

The victims' remains were found in a mass grave in 1995 by the Austrian Jewish Association. It is now marked by a plaque.

The BBC reports that the German state court has been told that on 29 March 1945, the accused and accomplices brought the labourers to a forest "where they had to give up their valuables and kneel by a grave".

"The accused and other SS members then cruelly shot the Jewish forced labourers from behind," a prosecution spokesman said.

The 90-year-old man is also accused of shooting another Jew who could no longer walk during a forced march on the same day or the day after.

University student brought case to notice

Prosecutors began investigating the case last year when they were alerted by an Austrian university student who had been researching the massacre.

Prosecutor Andreas Brendel told the Associated Press news agency that three former members of the Hitler Youth provided testimony in Austria.

A fourth former Hitler Youth member, now living in Canada, was being interviewed this week, he said.

The defendant has two weeks to present evidence or to appeal against the case proceeding.