(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Prosecutors in Stuttgart are investigating a former Nazi SS man who was allegedly a cook at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
According to reports in the German media, 93-year-old Hans Lipschis, who worked at the camp from 1941, is currently living in Aalen in southern Germany.
Lipschis appears as number four on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazis, according to the BBC. Lipschis is one of 50 former Auschwitz staff
who are still alive and are being newly investigated by German authorities, BBC reported.
His wartime identification papers show he belonged to a company of SS guards in the Nazi death camp in Poland. It is unclear what role he had, if any, in the extermination of the camp's inmates. He claimed he was merely a cook and did not see the gas chambers and the crematorium.
The investigation was made possible following the conviction of John Demjanjuk
in May 2011 in Germany of being an accessory to the murders of 28,000 Jews in the Sobibor extermination camp.
His conviction allowed Germany's judicial system to cover new legal territory because Demjanjuk's presence as a guard at a site of a mass murder was enough to implicate him in the murders that were carried out there, which means potential defendants like Lipschis might no longer be able to claim they were only following orders.
"Simply being where the killing took place would be enough for a conviction," the BBC quoted Kurt Schrimm, head of Germany's Central Judicial Office for the Investigation of Nazi crimes, as saying.
Lipschis moved to Chicago in 1956 but was expelled in 1983 when IS authorities discovered he was hiding his Nazi past. At the time, American authorities were unable to prove he was personally responsible for any killings.
German news site Der Westen reported that until 2010, 6500 Nazi war criminals were convicted, and 169 life sentences were given.