Thursday, September 29, 2022

Ex-Nazi death camp officer flees before charges


Image copyright WW2 Courthouse Image caption The former SS officer, Klaus Brunner, is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

A 94-year-old former Nazi SS death camp control officer has fled before being tried, prosecutors have announced.

Fritz Brunner has been under investigation for more than 10 years on charges of forced labour participation and murder.

He moved from Germany to Belgium last month before a court there gave him the authority to stay.

But after Mr Brunner was given that authority, he fled the country on Tuesday.

He is “on the run”, the Braunschweig prosecutor’s office said.

Mr Brunner served as a guard at the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland during World War II, and prosecutors alleged he was responsible for the deaths of 500 people.

In January 2009, he was named an honorary member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and awarded its lifetime achievement medal.

Image copyright WW2 Courthouse Image caption Mr Brunner is a part of a group of men named in a 2008 US Congress report as being involved in the Holocaust

In a statement, Michael Eszenyi, the man who nominated Mr Brunner for the honour, described him as a “profoundly cultured” man who had “yet to show the consequences of the horrors he had committed as a victim”.

Prosecutors say Mr Brunner is now likely to be extradited from Belgium.

A 2011 report by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum detailed more than 700 people involved in the Auschwitz death camp who were included in the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) Roll of Honour.

In 2016, Mr Brunner – a member of the Nazis’ Waffen SS – was freed from prison in Germany after serving 50 years of a 25-year sentence for the murders of two Dutch Jews.

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