Former Nazi prison guard dies while awaiting trial

[JURIST] Accused Nazi guard Samuel Kunz [Trial Watch profile], 89, passed away in his home before he could be brought to trial for allegedly aiding in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people at the Belzec concentration camp [HRP backgrounder], according to statements by officials of the German District Court of Bonn [official website] on Monday. No further details as to his cause of death were released. Kunz, third on the Simon Wiesenthal Center [official website] most wanted list, remained free although he admitted to working at Belzec from 1942-1943. Israel Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Dr. Efraim Zuroff expressed frustration that Kunz was never brought to justice [press release]:

The fact that Samuel Kunz lived in Germany unprosecuted for so many decades is the result of a flawed prosecution policy which ignored virtually any Holocaust perpetrator who was not an officer. It was only the recent, long-awaited change in this policy which led to Kunz's indictment and the opportunity to hold him accountable for his crimes. We urge the German authorities to expedite all such cases, given the advanced age of the suspects, so that a measure of justice can still be achieved.
Kunz was accused of helping to murder 430,000 Jewish people [Al Jazeera report] during his time at Belzec and of shooting 10 other people in separate incidents.

Kunz was charged [JURIST report] in July by prosecutors of the German city of Dortmund. He maintained that he never personally murdered anyone [JTA report]. Kunz was also called as a witness in the case of fellow accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive]. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk faces 27,900 accessory accounts stemming from his alleged involvement as a guard at Sobibor concentration camp [Death Camps backgrounder].

 

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