German prosecutor seeks to jail Nazi war criminal

Jan 19, 2012, 4:24 PM

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) – A Bavarian prosecutor has filed a motion to have a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands of Nazi war crimes serve his sentence in a German prison _ likely the final chapter in decades of efforts to see the 89-year-old jailed.

Klaas Carel Faber _ No. 3 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted Nazis _ was convicted in 1947 of involvement in 22 murders and for aiding the Netherlands’ Nazi occupiers during World War II. He was handed a death sentence that was later commuted to life in prison, according to Dutch prosecutors.

But in 1952 he escaped and fled to Germany, where he has lived in freedom ever since despite several attempts to try or extradite him.

Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Wiesenthal Center, applauded the new development in the decades-old case.

“Under the circumstances this is the best we can hope for and it’s a realistic possibility,” Zuroff said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. “It’s high time that Mr. Faber ends his peaceful and tranquil life in Ingolstadt and is incarcerated for his heinous crimes.”

Faber was saved by his German citizenship when Berlin rejected a request from the Netherlands last year for his extradition on a European arrest warrant _ opening the door to pursuing his incarceration in Germany, said Ingolstadt prosecutor Helmut Walter.

Walter said he filed the motion about a week ago with the Ingolstadt state court, but did not know when to expect a ruling.

The court will not need to reconsider any of the facts of the Dutch case, however, he said.

The Dutch court decision in 1947 “is a valid verdict,” he said. “This is purely a legal question _ if, through the rejection of the European arrest warrant, the sentence can be enforced here.”

Faber’s telephone number is unlisted and Walter said he has not yet been appointed a defense attorney.

Dutch Justice Ministry spokesman Wiebe Alkema said his government was “happy and satisfied” with the development, which was based on a request from Amsterdam.

“It coincides with what the Netherlands saw as a possible option to get Faber behind bars,” he told the AP.

Faber was born in the Netherlands in 1922 and turns 90 on Friday.

Dutch prosecutors have said he was convicted for killings at three different Dutch locations in 1944-1945, including six at the Westerbork transit camp, where thousands of Dutch Jews, including Anne Frank, were held before being sent to labor camps or death camps in eastern Europe.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, Faber volunteered for Hitler’s SS, a paramilitary organization loyal to Nazi ideology, after Germany overran the Netherlands during World War II.

He also served with the Sicherheitsdienst, the Nazi internal intelligence agency, and an SS unit, code-named Silbertanne, or Silver Fir, which consisted of 15 men, most of them Dutch, who were mustered to exact reprisals for attacks by the Dutch resistance on collaborators, according to the Wiesenthal Center.

Dutch authorities first requested his extradition in 1954 but Faber had been able to get German citizenship because of his service to Germany during the war, so the request was rejected because Germany refused to extradite its own citizens.

In 1957 a Duesseldorf court rejected attempts to bring him to trial in Germany, saying there was not enough evidence against him.

After a Dutch request to have him jailed in Germany in 2004 failed, Munich prosecutors in 2006 received new evidence from the Netherlands and looked into reopening the files. But prosecutors found that the former SS man may have been guilty not of murder but only of manslaughter _ and the statute of limitations for that crime had expired.

It was after that _ in 2010 _ that the Netherlands again asked for his extradition using a new European arrest warrant. It was again rejected, because his consent was still needed to extradite him as a German citizen, but that paved the way for the new appeal to the Ingolstadt court.


Toby Sterling in Amsterdam contributed to this story.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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German prosecutor seeks to jail Nazi war criminal