Germany has announced its plans to investigate 24 suspects as Nazi criminals, including three women.
The individuals in question served as guards at camps like Ravensbrueck, Auschwitz and Majdanek. Papers have already been filed on the suspects, many of who are now aged over 90.
If convicted, they will see punishment some 70 years after committing their crimes.
The case comes from Germany’s central authority, following a suit filed recently into the case of a former Dachau guard known as Horst P.
Horst was photographed standing in his home next to a collage he made commemorating his service to the Nazis. The collage included images of him in uniform, along with the words “Mein Kampf.”
The Daily Mail published an extensive piece on the new investigation, writing: “Despite the fact there are no witnesses left alive to testify as to what they did, prosecutors hope that the mere fact of serving in a place of suffering and death will be enough to bring charges and guilty verdicts.”
The Mail write up included bios of some of the accused, with direct quotes from Oskar Groening, who is being investigated once more after having been cleared of war crimes in 1948:
I was an official in the prisoners’ possessions administration which basically involved removing the money, jewels and other valuables from the inmates, registering it and sending it back to Berlin. They had diamonds and gold worth millions and it was my duty to make sure all of it got to Berlin.
It was completely understood by all that the majority were going straight to the gas chamber, although some believed they were only going to be showered before going to work. Many Jews knew they were going to die. One time a drunken SS man discovered a crying baby on the platform. He grabbed the waif by its legs and smashed its head against the side of a truck. My blood froze when I saw it.
It was in a half-built farmyard near to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. A gas chamber was built there. We were searching the wood nearby for prisoners who had escaped. There were more than 100 prisoners and soon there were panic-filled cries as they were herded into the chamber and the door was shut. Then a sergeant with a gasmask went to a hole in the wall and from a tin shook Zyklon B gas pellets inside.
In that moment the cries of the people inside rose to a crescendo, a choir of madness. These cries I have ringing in my ears to this day.
I again made an application for a transfer and at the end of October 1944 I was shipped to the Belgian Ardennes where I served with a fighting unit until capture. But you can imagine that down the years I have heard the cries of the dead in my dreams and in every waking moment. I will never be free of them. I have never been back there because of my shame. This guilt will never leave me. I can only plead for forgiveness and pray for atonement.