Trial of former Nazi official hangs on decision over fitness to stand

The trial of a former Nazi official over his suspected involvement in the deaths of 3,681 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp is set to begin in Germany on Monday, with a decision expected on the 95-year-old's ability to stand trial.

The court is set to hear expert assessments on the suspect's health, a spokesman for the regional court in Neubrandenburg, northern Germany, said. Prosecutors will then decide how to proceed.

The man, identified only as Hubert Z under German privacy laws, is thought to have worked as a medic at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland from August 15 to September 14 1944, during which time he supervised the work of other Nazi officials.

State prosecutors said that 3,681 people were murdered in the gas chambers there during that period. The indictment is based on the passenger records of 14 trains to the camp, one of which is thought to have been carrying Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.

The indictment is to be read out in full on March 14.

The news comes after an appeal court last year overturned a verdict that the former SS medic was too unwell to stand trial.

In April 2015, the so-called bookkeeper of Auschwitz, Oskar Groening, was sentenced to four years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people in what was widely thought would be the last Holocaust trial in Germany.

However, German prosecutors have been under pressure to bring Third Reich war criminals to justice before time runs out.

Last update: Sat, 03/09/2016 - 01:26
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