Ex-Nazi: 'I Was Just Following Orders'

Boere says he had no choice but to kill Dutch civilians

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 9, 2009 2:09 AM CST

(Newser) – A former Nazi hitman on trial in Germany confessed to killing three Dutch civilians but offered prosecutors a familiar excuse. "As a simple soldier, I learned to carry out orders," Heinrich Boere told the court. "And I knew that if I didn't carry out my orders I would be breaking my oath and would be shot myself."

Boere, a Dutchman who volunteered to join the SS, carried out the killings as part of a death squad and fled to Germany after the war. "At no time in 1944 did I act with the feeling that I was committing a crime," Boere said. "Today, after 65 years, I naturally see things from a different perspective." Boere, 88, could face a life sentence if found guilty, the BBC reports.

Heinrich Boere is seen in front of his house in Germany in this 2003 photo. Boere has confessed to killing a pharmacist, a bicycle shop owner, and another civilian as part of an SS death squad.
Heinrich Boere is seen in front of his house in Germany in this 2003 photo. Boere has confessed to killing a pharmacist, a bicycle shop owner, and another civilian as part of an SS death squad.   (AP Photo/ Eric Brinkhorst, File)
Former  Waffen SS member Heinrich Boeresits in the dock of the court in Aachen, Germany, at the start of his trial.
Former Waffen SS member Heinrich Boeresits in the dock of the court in Aachen, Germany, at the start of his trial.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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