Gruesome charges detailed against suspected Nazi
BERLIN (AP) — The world’s third most wanted Nazi suspect, who allegedly participated in the murder of more than 430,000 Jews at the Belzec death camp, was involved in the entire killing process — from taking victims from trains to pushing them into gas chambers to throwing their corpses into mass graves, according to court documents.
A state court in the western city of Bonn released new details Thursday of last week’s indictment against Samuel Kunz, an 88-year-old former ministry employee who has lived undisturbed in the village of Wachtberg outside Bonn for many years.
“The accused was deployed in all areas of the camp,” court spokesman Matthias Nordmeyer told the Associated Press.
The court’s statement describes in gruesome detail some of the crimes the suspected former death camp guard allegedly committed in occupied Poland from January 1942 to July 1943.
The court also announced Thursday that Mr. Kunz has been charged in a German youth court because he was a minor at the time — meaning he could be brought to trial as an adolescent and face a more lenient sentence.
Mr. Kunz was 20 years old when he allegedly started working as a guard at Belzec in January 1942. According to German law, people between 18 and 21 can be brought to trial either as minors or adults.
“It will be up to the judge to decide whether he will be sentenced as an adolescent or an adult,” Mr. Nordmeyer said.
After the victims arrived by train at the death camp, they were told that before they could start working they had to be deloused and take a shower, the statement said, describing the terrifying killing process that by now is well known.
“Threatening them with pistols, whips and wooden clubs, the victims were told to hurry up… . They had to undress … the women had their hair cut off, and then first the men, then women and children were pushed into the gas chambers,” the statement said.
After the victims were killed, “the corpses were searched for gold and valuables and then thrown into prepared graves.”
In addition to being charged with participating in the execution of the Holocaust, Mr. Kunz — who is No. 3 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted Nazi suspects — also is accused of “personal excesses” in the alleged shooting of 10 Jews.
“In July 1943, the defendant is accused of having shot two persons who had escaped from a train going to the death camp and had been captured by guards,” the statement said.
Between May and June 1943, he reportedly killed eight others who had been wounded but not killed by another guard at Belzec.
“The defendant then took the weapon from the other guard to shoot the wounded victims to death,” according to the statement.