A German court today convicted an 88-year-old of murdering three Dutch civilians as part of a Nazi hit squad during World War II, capping six decades of efforts to bring the former Waffen SS man to justice. Heinrich Boere, number six on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted Nazis, was given the maximum sentence of life in prison. During the trial, Boere admitted to killing a bicycle-shop owner, a pharmacist, and another civilian as a member of the "Silbertanne" hit squad.
"As a simple soldier, I learned to carry out orders," Boere said. "And I knew that if I didn't carry out my orders I would be breaking my oath and would be shot myself." But the prosecution argued that Boere was a willing member of the fanatical Waffen SS, which he joined shortly after the Nazis had overrun his hometown of Maastricht. Though sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands in 1949—later commuted to life imprisonment—he had managed to avoid jail until now.