Nazi suspect indicted over murder of 430,000 Jews

A suspected former Nazi death camp guard has been charged with participating in the murder of 430,000 Jews and other crimes during the Third Reich, German prosecutors said on Wednesday.Samuel Kunz, 88, was informed last week of his indictment on charges including participation in the murder of 430,000 Jews at the Belzec death camp in occupied Poland, where he allegedly served as a guard from January 1942 to July 1943, prosecutor Christoph Goeke in Dortmund said.Kunz is also charged with murder over “personal excesses” in which he allegedly shot a total of 10 Jews in two other incidents, Mr Goeke said.Kunz, who is No.3 on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted Nazi suspects, lives near the western German city of Bonn. When reached by phone, he said he did not want to talk about the allegations and hung up.Kunz was not detained because officials who interviewed him think that he will not try to flee the country, a person familiar with the case said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to reveal details of the investigation.Mr Goeke said the case has been sent to the state court in Bonn, where officials were considering whether and when to hold a trial – a standard procedural step in Germany.Bonn court spokesman Matthias Nordmeyer said the court did not want to comment now on the case.Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said Kunz participated in the so-called Operation Reinhard to eliminate Polish Jewry.”The indictment of Samuel Kunz is a very positive development,” Mr Zuroff said from Jerusalem.”It reflects recent changes in the German prosecution policy, which have significantly enlarged the number of suspects who will be brought to justice.”Mr Zuroff said Kunz had never previously been on trial over his alleged Nazi-era past and that his name first came up in investigations connected to the trial of John Demjanjuk.Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, 90, is on trial in Munich on charges of being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. He denies he was ever a camp guard.Prosecutors allege that both Kunz and Demjanjuk, a retired Ohio car worker who was deported to Germany from the US last year, trained as guards at the Trawniki SS camp.AP
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