News, Culture & Society

Auschwitz worker Hubert Zafki trial thrown out in Germany

A case against a 96-year-old former medical orderly accused of being involved in the mass murder of prisoners at Auschwitz has been thrown out due to the man’s ill health.

Wheelchair-bound Hubert Zafke, who also suffers from dementia, faced a staggering 3,681 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Nazi concentration camp in Poland.

Thomas Walther, who works as a lawyer for two sons of a woman murdered at Auschwitz that the outcome of the trial ‘leaves behind co-plaintiffs with fresh wounds that won’t heal, dealt to them by the German justice system, just like the wounds that SS men such as Zafke dealt them seven decades ago’.   

 

Hubert Zafke, who now suffers from dementia, faced a staggering 3,681 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Nazi concentration camp in Poland

A case against Hubert Zafke, 96, a former medical orderly accused of being involved in the mass murder of prisoners at Auschwitz has been thrown out due to the man’s ill health 

The trial in the northeastern lakeside town of Neubrandenburg has faced a number of setbacks since it began in February 2016 due to Zafke’s ill health, but has now been scrapped altogether after two independence psychiatrists confirmed his dementia meant he could not retain information or hold a discussion ‘for more than a few minutes’.

The decision to scrap the trial was widely expected after prosecutors said last month the accused was unfit for trial.

Court spokesman Carl Christian Deutsch said: ‘Because of his dementia he is no longer capable of following a trial.’

The charges against Zafke focus on a one-month period in 1944 when 14 trains carrying prisoners arrived at the death camp.

Among those prisoners included Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank, who arrived with her parents and sisters before being transported to another camp, Bergen-Belsen, where she died two months before the end of the conflict.

In 1948, Zafke was sentenced to four years in prison by a Polish court, but was released in 1951.

Yet when first questioned by German authorities in 2014, Zafke claimed he never worked at the camp, but then later admitted his presence.

He said he was unaware of the gas chambers and crematorium until the end of the war.  

Zafke was the fourth former concentration camp worker to face trial in Germany in a recent string of arrests, including John Demjanjuk in 2011, Oskar Groening in 2015 and Reinhold Hanning last year – all convicted of complicity in mass murder. 

A case against Hubert Zafke, 96, a former medical orderly accused of being involved in the mass murder of prisoners at Auschwitz has been thrown out due to the man's ill health

A case against Hubert Zafke, 96, a former medical orderly accused of being involved in the mass murder of prisoners at Auschwitz has been thrown out due to the man’s ill health

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk