3 Auschwitz Suspects Arrested

Germany raids homes of 9 suspected former guards
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2014 2:18 AM CST
This January 1941 photo shows railroad tracks leading to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – In a last push to punish Nazi atrocities, German authorities have swooped in on the homes of nine suspected former guards at the Auschwitz death camp. Three men aged 88, 92, and 94 were arrested yesterday in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and are now in a prison hospital, reports the AP. Officials say "diverse papers and documents from the Nazi era" were seized from the men's homes, but not enough evidence was uncovered for the other six men to be arrested.

The only suspect to make a statement was the 88-year-old, who admitted being a guard at the camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered but denied committing any crimes. The effort to track down former Auschwitz guards was launched after the conviction of John Demjanjuk, in which a court decided that being a guard at a death camp was enough to warrant conviction for being an accessory to murder, the BBC reports. "This is a major step," says the chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. "Given the advanced age of the defendants, every effort should be made to expedite their prosecution." (Read more Auschwitz stories.)

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