Germany to investigate 50 Auschwitz guards

German news source reports intention to convict elderly men who once served as guards at deadliest extermination camp in history.

Train to Auschwitz 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Train to Auschwitz 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Investigations are being launched into the crimes of 50 former guards of the Auschwitz- Birkenau extermination camp under suspicion of murder, reported German news website Der Westen.
The case is under investigation by Germany's Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, which is officially known as Zentrale Stelle, and is reportedly based in the city of Ludwigsburg.
Kurt Schrimm, 64, who has been Chief Prosecutor in the investigation, told Der Westen that the case is unique because of the age of the suspects.
According to the German online publication, the investigation was made possible as result of the recent trial of John Demjanjuk, who was convicted in 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. Demjanjuk died a year ago in Germany at the age of 91, while waiting to appeal his conviction.
"We are no longer sitting at desks, waiting until the cases come to us," Schrimm told Der Westen.
Schrimm is currently focused on investigations in South America, Der Westen reported. After 1945, numerous Nazi war criminals allegedly took exile there.
"This is about education," the web site quoted Schrimm as saying. He added that this investigation is about Germany taking responsibility for their actions.
Der Westen reported that until 2010,  6500 Nazi war criminals were convicted, and 169 life sentences were given.