Reporters face trial for ‘invading’ Nazi’s privacy

2 Dutch journalists to stand trial in Germany for allegedly invading privacy of Nazi war criminal they helped expose.

February 8, 2012 23:07
2 minute read.
Heinrich Boere

Heinrich Boere 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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THE HAGUE – Two Dutch journalists will stand trial in Germany for allegedly invading the privacy of the escaped Nazi war criminal whom they helped expose.

Journalists Jelle Visser and Jan Ponsen are to report on Thursday morning to the courthouse in Eschweiler, a sleepy border town in western Germany. They will have to answer charges that they had violated the privacy and trust of Heinrich Boere, a Dutch Waffen-SS assassin.

The journalists for the investigative show Een Vandaag secretly filmed Boere in September 2009 at his home in Eschweiler, where he was also born. A German court sentenced Boere in March 2010 to life imprisonment for his wartime crimes.

He filed a complaint against the journalists for violation of privacy from prison. The investigation into the journalists’ actions began that year.

German authorities began preparing an indictment against Boere in 2008. The Dutch government repeatedly sought Boere’s extradition since the 1980s, to no avail.

“This case is ridiculous,” Visser told The Jerusalem Post. “The German authorities took more than 60 years to prosecute Boere, but they took less than two years to prosecute the reporters who filmed him at large.”

If convicted, the journalists face up to three years in jail.

Accompanying the journalists will be representatives of the journalist unions of the Netherlands and Germany, as well as family members of people whom Boere had murdered.

One of them is the daughter of Fritz Bicknese, a pharmacist and father of 12. Boere executed him near Breda in July 1944. Also present will be Anny Schröder-Schilte and her sister. Her father hid people wanted by the Germans and their collaborators in his home until Boere reported him to the Nazis. Mr. Schilte, father of five, died in a German concentration camp.

“I was relieved to see the broadcast,” Anny Schröder- Schilte told the Post. “Finally the person who killed my father had a face. I knew who had done it. I was 12 when it happened and it all happened very fast. It is unbelievable that he [Boere] dares file complaints after what he did.”

“The judge in this case will need to balance the public’s best interests with those of the individual,” said Esther Voet, deputy director of CIDI, Holland’s watchdog on anti-Semitism, and former editor-in-chief of the country’s Jewish journal, NIW. “The public’s interest here clearly outweighs the individual’s.”

Along with Boere’s extradition, the Netherlands is also seeking that of Klaas Carel Faber, another convicted Dutch Nazi who fed to Germany. Faber is still at large.

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