Auschwitz Medic Accused of Gasing Victims Deemed Unfit to Stand Trial

Ninety-five-year-old Hubert Zafke claims he knew people were being murdered, but played no direct role in the killing 70 years ago.

JTA
JTA
A poster reading "Auschwitz-Birkenau, the scene of the crime" stands outside the regional court of Neubrandenburg during the first day of the trial against former SS medic Hubert Zafke.
A poster reading "Auschwitz-Birkenau, the scene of the crime" stands outside the regional court of Neubrandenburg during the first day of the trial against former SS medic Hubert Zafke.Credit: AFP
JTA
JTA

A former Auschwitz medic, now 95, has been found unfit to stand trial for his role in the murder of more than 3,600 people at the Nazi death camp.

A court-appointed physician determined that Hubert Zafke’s health is too poor to go on trial, Neubrandenburg state court told the dpa news agency Friday, according to The Associated Press. Other experts will examine Zafke ahead of a hearing scheduled for March 24.

His trial failed to begin as planned on February 29 after a doctor rule he was unfit to be transported to court.

Zafke is charged with being an accomplice to the murders of 3,681 people at the death camp. Prosecutors say the medic’s unit in which he served placed the Zyklon-B pesticide crystals into the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where up to 6,000 Jews were killed per day, and was “supportive of the running of this extermination camp,” according to Deutsche Welle.

Zafke does not deny he served at Auschwitz, but says he did not see or participate in any of the murders. His attorney says he knew people were being murdered at Auschwitz but never took part in the killings.

Reportedly he was on duty when teenage diarist Anne Frank arrived at the death camp on September 5, 1944. She was transferred later to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died of typhoid.

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