A man accused of murdering Dutch civilians as a member of a Waffen SS hit squad said at his trial Friday that he was proud about being chosen as a volunteer to fight for the Nazis.
Heinrich Boere, 88, made his first comments to the Aachen state court since his trial opened at the end of October. As part of that SS unit, he is charged with killing a bicycle-shop owner, a pharmacist and another civilian. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Boere said he remembered his mother waking him up the night in 1940 that Germany invaded his hometown in the Netherlands and seeing Stuka dive-bombers overhead. Instead of fearing the German bombs, Boere, whose father was Dutch and mother German, said his family was elated as the attack unfolded.
"[My mother] said 'they're coming' now things will be better," he told the court, speaking animatedly to the panel of judges.