German court rules ex-Nazi, 86, won't serve life sentence

Man convicted by Amsterdam tribunal in 1949 for shooting three people during World War II; numerous attempts to enforce ruling unsuccessful.

Nazis 298.88 (photo credit: )
Nazis 298.88
(photo credit: )
A German court ruled Thursday that an 86-year-old former Nazi convicted of murdering three people during World War II would not serve out a 1949 sentence of life in prison handed down by a Dutch tribunal. The man, whose identity was kept confidential by the Cologne state court, was convicted 57 years ago in absentia by an Amsterdam tribunal of shooting three people in the Dutch towns of Breda, Vorschooten and Wassenaar in 1944 while serving as a member of Hitler's SS, the court said in a statement. Five years later, he was found guilty of the killings by a tribunal and sentenced to life in prison. But the Dutch-born man had already escaped the Netherlands and was living in Germany near Aachen, not far from the Dutch border, the court said. Dutch authorities tried unsuccessfully in the 1980s to have the man extradited to serve out his sentence. In February, a lower court in Aachen ruled the man, who now lives in a nursing home, could be sent to prison to serve out the sentence. The Cologne court's ruling overturns that decision. Although the Cologne court ruled that the killings would be considered murder under German law, and therefore punishable as such, because the man was denied legal representation during the Amsterdam trial, the 1949 conviction could not be legally enforced by authorities here.