'A Dereliction of Duty': Holocaust Survivors Slam Germany for Failing to Put Nazis on Trial

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A visitor looks at portraits of Holocaust survivors in the exhibition in Germany
A visitor looks at portraits of Holocaust survivors in the exhibition in GermanyCredit: Jens Schlueter/AFP

The International Auschwitz Committee of survivors has accused Germany's judiciary of failing to prosecute Nazi criminals for decades.

"To know that the perpetrators from these camps have been mostly able to live their lives unchecked and safely without having to answer for their crimes in front of a German court has burdened survivors for their entire lives," the vice president of the committee Christoph Heubner told the Funke media group newspapers in comments published Tuesday.

The fact that perpetrators are only now being held accountable is "a failure and dereliction of duty by the German judiciary that has spanned decades," he said.

The criticism was sparked by charges brought in February against a 100-year-old former guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin and a 95-year-old former secretary at the Stutthof camp in what was then Nazi-occupied Poland.

Heubner said they are part of the machinery of the German concentration and extermination camps. Survivors are not interested in revenge, but in justice - and there is no expiration date for that, he said.

"And therefore these trials are still important, even when in the meantime the perpetrators and the surviving victims have reached old age."

Click the alert icon to follow topics: