In a series of raids, German police have arrested three elderly men who are suspected of having once manned posts at the Auschwitz death camp.
News of the arrests was announced last Thursday by German prosecutors, who said an 88-year-old, a 92-year-old and a 94-years-old had all been remanded into custody in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, according to the Guardian.
In addition, raids were carried out at three other locations in the same state, as well as homes in the more western regions of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. No arrests were reported in these actions.
“Various records and documents from the Nazi era were seized, and their evaluation is ongoing,” the prosecutors said in a statement about the home raids.
Currently, the German agency in charge of investigating war crimes has a list of close to 30 suspected Auschwitz guards who have been recommended for prosecution, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was quick to praise the German arrests, which signal one of the boldest moves made against suspected Nazi guards in decades.
Wiesenthal chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff told JTA that it was important to remind people that “justice can still be obtained.”
“These are the last people on earth who deserve any sympathy since they had no sympathy whatsoever for their innocent victims, some of whom were older than they are today,” Zuroff added.
The push to renew Nazi investigation efforts was sparked in part by the successful trial of John Demjanjuk, who was convicted of serving as a guard at the Sobibor camp in 2011. Although Demjanjuk maintained he had never worked at the Polish camp (he died while appealing the ruling), Munich prosecutors argued that just being at the death camp was tantamount to being an accessory to murder.