Daily Israel Report

Germany Cracks Down on Nazi War Criminals

90-year old female 'fanatic' Auschwitz guard who beat and confined prisoners part of series of arrests, after legal precedent opens trials.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/18/2014, 3:35 PM

Auschwitz entrance
Auschwitz entrance
Thinkstock

Germany has arrested several former Nazi war criminals this week, in an attempt to bring them to justice before they die.

On of them, Gisela S, is a 90-year old charged of aiding in mass murder during her time in 1944 as a female guard at the Auschwitz death camp, when she was known by her maiden name Demming, reports Daily Mail.

Gisela S reportedly beat the prisoners of the death camp, and was in charge of the standing cells, small dark rooms where up to 15 people at a time were stuffed into. Those undergoing the punishment were commonly left there for several days, with most of them never leaving the cell alive.

The female Nazi was described as a fanatical supporter of Adolf Hitler's genocidal regime, joining the BDM (League of German Maidens) early on, before later entering the SS in 1940.

Reportedly, the female guard was in a romantic relationship with SS doctor Franz Bernhard Lucas, but left him after he became squeamish over Dr. Josef Mengele's horrific experiments on prisoners. She escaped a jail sentence despite being at a Frankfurt trial in the 1960s.

On Tuesday, German police arrested another former Nazi, this time a 93-year old Auschwitz medic. The man allegedly assisted in the mass murder of 1,721 prisoners who were judged unfit for forced labor at the camp in September, 1944, reports AFP.

Another former Nazi finally being brought to justice is Oskar Groening. Currently 92-years old, he was tasked with transferring the possessions and money of the murdered prisoners from the camp to his SS superiors in Berlin.

A new purge triggered by legal precedent

The series of arrests comes following the 2011 Munich trial of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi war criminal charged of assisting in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp and sentenced to five years. The former Nazi died in 2012.

The trial changed limitations by which Germany only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if witness testimony showed they personally committed atrocities. Thanks to the Demjanjuk ruling, all former camp guards can be tried for their part in the Nazi genocidal mass murder.

At Auschwitz roughly one million Jews were murdered, part of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Just last week, officials at Auschwitz discovered a set of metal stamps with embedded needles that were used to tattoo prisoners. The set is the first full set of such stamps every found.