Germany Drops Case Against Former Nazi SS Guard Already Convicted in Italy

94-year-old Wilhelm Kusterer judged too ill to stand trial in Stuttgart after already being sentenced to life in prison in absentia for taking part in WWII massacre.

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This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows a group of SS officers gathered in front of a building at Solahutte, the SS retreat outside of Auschwitz, Poland.
This 1944 photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) shows a group of SS officers gathered in front of a building at Solahutte, the SS retreat outside of Auschwitz, Poland. Credit: AP Photo

Prosecutors in Stuttgart are shelving their war crimes investigation of a 94-year-old man who already was convicted of Nazi war crimes in Italy.

Former SS soldier Wilhelm Kusterer of Engelsbrand — who was found guilty of involvement in the massacre of 770 civilians in Marzabotto, Italy, in 1944 and sentenced to life in prison in absentia in 2008 — was too ill to stand trial, the prosecutors said. A spokesman for the prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to get a conviction in Germany, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The German investigation was launched in 2013.

In March 2015, Kusterer, who had served for years in the Engelsbrand parliament as a member of the Social Democratic Party, received an honorary medal for social services from his town. But he returned the medal last March following protests mounted from Italy against honoring a convicted war criminal.

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