Trial of Nazi Medic Rescheduled After Claim of Biased Judge Dismissed

Hubert Zafke was a medic at Auschwitz for a month in 1944, during which 14 trains carrying deported Jews and other victims arrived.

Former Auschwitz medic Hubert Zafke arrives in a wheelchair ahead of his trial in Neubrandenburg, Germany, September 12, 2016.
Bernd Wuestneck, DPA

The trial in Germany of a 96-year-old former medic at the Auschwitz death camp was rescheduled on Friday after several motions to remove the judge over claims of bias were dismissed, a court spokesman said.

The trial of Hubert Zafke, who is charged with at least 3,681 counts of accessory to murder, will be held in early 2017, the Brandenburg-based spokesman said.

The undated photo provided by the Archive of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau shows SS Oberscharfuehrer Hubert Zafke. Zafke, now 95, is scheduled to go on trial at the end of February 2016.
AP

Zafke was a medic at the death camp for a month in 1944, during which 14 trains carrying deported Jews and other victims arrived.

His trial started in March, but was suspended in October when the prosecution team and co-plaintiffs accused judge Klaus Kabisch of a "lack of objectivity" in the case.

For decades after the war, German courts argued that the top Nazi leadership was principally to blame for the mass murder of Jews and that lower-ranking individuals in the Holocaust machinery were bound by a chain of command and were, therefore, less culpable. 

That approach changed radically after a legal precedent set by the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, who was found guilty by a Munich court of being an accessory to the murder of more than 28,000 Jews while he was a guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland.