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Suspected SS guard, 95, confronted over WW2 claims

This is the chilling moment a 95-year-old suspected of being a Nazi death squad guard was confronted with claims he was present during a mass murder more than 70 years ago.

Herbert Wahler’s name appears on lists of an SS unit attached to Einsatzgruppe C – a group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler’s regime in the Soviet Union in 1941.

The pensioner, who lives in a small town near Kassel, confirmed his name was on the roster but then became irate as he told German reporters: : ‘I have nothing to say. You’re out of luck. I have nothing to hide. And you won’t hear anything from me. What has been has been. It’s over.’

Wahler was one of two pensioners approached after a German television station tracked them down.

The other was Kurt Gosdek, 94, from a town near Osnabrueck, who claimed that although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres.

Confrontation: Footage captures the chilling moment 95-year-old Herbert Wahler, suspected of being a Nazi death squad guard, was presented with claims he was present during a mass execution 70 years ago

Herbert Wahler's name appears on lists of an SS unit attached to Einsatzgruppe C - a group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler's regime in the Soviet Union in 1941

Herbert Wahler's name appears on lists of an SS unit attached to Einsatzgruppe C - a group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler's regime in the Soviet Union in 1941

Herbert Wahler’s name appears on lists of an SS unit attached to Einsatzgruppe C – a group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler’s regime in the Soviet Union in 1941

Wahler (pictured in his army uniform) was one of two pensioners approached after a German television station tracked them down

Wahler (pictured in his army uniform) was one of two pensioners approached after a German television station tracked them down

Massacre: Einsatzgruppe C was responsible for one of the most notorious mass killings, the shooting of nearly 34,000 at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of the Ukrainian city of Kiev, on September 29, 1941

Massacre: Einsatzgruppe C was responsible for one of the most notorious mass killings, the shooting of nearly 34,000 at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of the Ukrainian city of Kiev, on September 29, 1941

Einsatzgruppe C was responsible for one of the most notorious massacres, the shooting of nearly 34,000 at Babi Yar, a ravine northwest of the Ukrainian city of Kiev, on September 29, 1941.

The two suspects were located by broadcaster ARD’s Politikmagazin Kontraste programme.

The two elderly men were both on a list of 80 former Einsatzgruppen members provided in late 2014 by Nazi hunters at the Wiesenthal Center to German authorities with the expectation that they could still be alive.

Footage shows reporters approaching Wahler at his home and showing him the list.

At first he speaks openly with the interviewers but then insists he will add nothing more.

Kurt Gosdek (pictured), 94, from a town near Osnabrueck, who claimed that although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres

Kurt Gosdek (pictured), 94, from a town near Osnabrueck, who claimed that although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres

Denial: Gosdek (pictured), told Kontraste in an interview earlier this month at his home in northwestern Germany that, although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres

Denial: Gosdek (pictured), told Kontraste in an interview earlier this month at his home in northwestern Germany that, although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres

Following the Einsatzgruppen massacres, the Nazis established death camps and in total killed some six million Jews as well as others. Gosdek said he was 'surprised' when he heard about the Holocaust after the war

Following the Einsatzgruppen massacres, the Nazis established death camps and in total killed some six million Jews as well as others. Gosdek said he was ‘surprised’ when he heard about the Holocaust after the war

Einsatzgruppe C was group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler's regime in the Soviet Union in 1941

Einsatzgruppe C was group tasked with killing racial or political enemies of Hitler’s regime in the Soviet Union in 1941

Meanwhile Gosdek, told Kontraste in an interview earlier this month at his home in northwestern Germany that, although he was part of the unit in Ukraine in 1941, he had worked behind the lines repairing vehicles. He claimed to know nothing of any massacres.

‘When I was assigned to the workshop service it was relatively quiet, one had only one’s work,’ he said. ‘Not the shooting.’

Following the Einsatzgruppen massacres, the Nazis established death camps and in total killed some six million Jews as well as others. Gosdek said he was ‘surprised’ when he heard about the Holocaust after the war.

‘It’s simply unbelievable that something like that happened,’ he said. 

This a 1944 file photo of part of the Babi Yar ravine at the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine where the advancing Red Army unearthed the bodies of 14,000 civilians killed by fleeing Nazis

This a 1944 file photo of part of the Babi Yar ravine at the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine where the advancing Red Army unearthed the bodies of 14,000 civilians killed by fleeing Nazis

Jens Rommel, head of the special German prosecutors’ office in Ludwigsburg that investigates Nazi crimes, confirmed that the Justice Ministry had forwarded them the Wiesenthal Center list.

He said it had been narrowed down to eight people thought to be still alive, including the two featured in Kontraste’s report and one other from Einsatzgruppe C, but prosecutors had not yet gathered enough evidence to recommend charges.

‘We need to at least confirm which time period someone was in a unit and which crimes committed by the unit they were part of,’ he told the AP.

Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center’s head Nazi hunter, questioned how much more evidence was necessary. He said a new precedent in German law means that suspects who helped the Nazi machinery of genocide function – like death camp guards – can be prosecuted as accessories to murder even if it can’t be proved they killed anybody themselves.

The Einsatzgruppen - made up of primarily SS and police personnel - followed Nazi Germany's troops as they battled their way eastward in the early years of the war. Pictured, SS leader Heinrich Himmler inspects troops

The Einsatzgruppen – made up of primarily SS and police personnel – followed Nazi Germany’s troops as they battled their way eastward in the early years of the war. Pictured, SS leader Heinrich Himmler inspects 

‘Everyone who assisted in any way shape or form was responsible,’ he said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. ‘Even if this guy was busy fixing cars, those cars took people to the sites to mass murder Jews… Bring these people to justice and put them on trial.’

Rommel said his office was moving ‘as quickly as possible’ on the Einsatzgruppen, but has also been focusing limited resources on guards at seven concentration camps, including Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Bergen-Belsen, where it was easier to prove that suspects were on hand at the time of specific killings.

He said he expected to hand as many as 30 cases to state prosecutors by year’s end with recommendations that the suspects be charged, but cautioned that because of their ages, the number could rapidly change.

‘Every year it’s more difficult because so many pass away,’ he said.

Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the national representative body of the UK Jewish community, called for the matter to be ‘properly investigated’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Anyone who may have been implicated in these grotesque atrocities should be properly investigated and brought to justice. 

‘The fact that Holocaust denial and revisionism are becoming more prevalent underlines our obligation to seek justice for the victims and the survivors of the Nazi genocide.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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