The head of the German prosecutors' office that specializes in investigating Nazi crimes reported on Monday that its investigation into 50 individuals suspected of serving as guards at Auschwitz [JURIST news archive] is almost complete. The individuals are being investigated under a new legal theory, which argues that a person who served in a death camp can be charged as an accessory to murder. Prosecutor Kurt Schrimm reported [AP report] that the prosecutors' office plans on recommending charges against most of the individuals who have been investigated and who are still alive. State prosecutors will then determine if there is enough evidence against the individuals to officially press charges.
German prosecutors have reopened [JURIST report] hundreds of investigations involving former death camp guards after the conviction [JURIST report] of John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive] in May 2011 for the murder of thousands during the Holocaust. Last month Laszlo Csatary, a 98-year-old Hungarian man charged with the unlawful execution and torture of people in connection with the Holocaust, died [JURIST report] after suffering a number of medical problems. Hungarian prosecutors had charged Csatary with war crimes [JURIST report] in June, just prior to his death. In July a German state court announced that it will require 92-year-old Siert Bruins, a former member of the Nazi Waffen SS [USHMM backgrounder], to go on trial in September after Bruins was charged for the murder [JURIST report] of resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in 1944. In May German authorities arrested [JURIST report] a 93-year-old man for allegedly serving as a guard at Auschwitz and assisting in the mass murder carried out at the death camp.