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Berlin - 91-Year-Old German Charged With Nazi Crimes

Published on: November 26, 2012 11:05 AM
By: AP
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Siert Bruins in 1980. Photo: WikiSiert Bruins in 1980. Photo: Wiki

Berlin - A 91-year-old former member of the Nazis’ Waffen SS has been charged with murder in the 1944 slaying of a Dutch resistance fighter who was allegedly executed shortly after he was captured, prosecutors said Monday.

Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who is now German, already served time in the 1980s for the wartime murder of two Dutch Jews.

Now, Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel told The Associated Press, the suspect is accused of killing resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 in the town of Appingedam, near the German border in the northern Netherlands.

Bruins and alleged accomplice August Neuhaeuser, who has since died, are accused of driving Dijkema to an isolated spot shortly after he had been apprehended and then stopping the car and telling him to “go take a leak.”

As he walked away, one of the men fired at least four shots into Dijkema, including two into the back of his head.

“We don’t know exactly who fired the shots, but to be criminally guilty that plays no role,” Brendel said. “If both were there with the goal to kill him, it doesn’t matter who pulled the trigger.”

The two then reported that the prisoner had been shot while trying to escape, Brendel said.

The case has now been turned over to a court in Hagen to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial, and Bruins has been taken into custody, Brendel said.

“This is wonderful,” said Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a telephone interview from Israel. “It again reinforces that it is still possible to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.”

Bruins was already sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands in 1949, later commuted to life in prison, but attempts to extradite him were unsuccessful because he had obtained German citizenship through a policy instituted by Adolf Hitler to confer citizenship on foreigners who served the military of Nazi Germany.

Born in 1921 in the Netherlands in an area near the German border, Bruins volunteered for the Waffen SS in 1941 after the Nazis had overrun his homeland.

He fought on the eastern front in Russia until 1943 when he became ill and no longer fit for combat duty, Brendel said.

Transferred back to the Netherlands, he served first in the Sicherheitsdienst — the Nazi internal intelligence agency — and then the Sicherheitspolizei, or Security Police, with a unit looking for resistance fighters and Jews.

While with the Waffen SS, Bruins had risen to the rank of Rottenfuehrer — equivalent to a corporal — and once back in the Netherlands he was promoted to Unterscharfuehrer — equivalent to sergeant — but Brendel said it was not clear what rank he held at the time of the crime.

In 1980 he was convicted in the killing of two Dutch Jews, brothers Lazar and Meyer Sleuterberg, who were discovered in hiding in Groningen, in the northern Netherlands, just days before the area was liberated by the Allies.

He was sentenced to seven years for being an accessory to murder. He settled in the town of Breckerfeld, near Dortmund, upon his release.


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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM Huh? Says:

Pursuing this sub-human is the real meaning of "no justice, no peace".
There can be no justice for what he did, it's beyond human comprehension. Therefore he has no peace. Each time he gets out of jail and then sent back again it sends a message: he can never be punished enough, therefore he he can't have peace of mind that his punishment is completed. Existentialism brought to life!

2

 Nov 27, 2012 at 12:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Huh? Says:

Pursuing this sub-human is the real meaning of "no justice, no peace".
There can be no justice for what he did, it's beyond human comprehension. Therefore he has no peace. Each time he gets out of jail and then sent back again it sends a message: he can never be punished enough, therefore he he can't have peace of mind that his punishment is completed. Existentialism brought to life!

"each time he gets out of jail and gets sent back again it sends a message"?

What is wrong with you? He was in prison only once, and has not been sent back to prison even once. And this nazi piece of excrement who has lived 91 years, and only seven of them in prison, you pontificate that he has no peace of mind?

Obviously, he has had peace of mind for 84 years of his life. Many MANY more years than any of his victims.

Your incredibly ignorant comment makes no sense whatsoever.

3

 Nov 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Huh? Says:

Pursuing this sub-human is the real meaning of "no justice, no peace".
There can be no justice for what he did, it's beyond human comprehension. Therefore he has no peace. Each time he gets out of jail and then sent back again it sends a message: he can never be punished enough, therefore he he can't have peace of mind that his punishment is completed. Existentialism brought to life!

Fool. There is always justice. Although maybe you will not be privy to its details. G-d is true to his word. Baruch Hashem.

4

 Nov 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM Huh? Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Fool. There is always justice. Although maybe you will not be privy to its details. G-d is true to his word. Baruch Hashem.

Does it make you feel good when you insult me ?
your response did not address what I said.
i know that the beshefer is emes olam, and that we don't need to understand H's emes. I did not say otherwise.
So why the insult?
even if I had been wrong, why the insult?

5

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