Ex-SS officer investigated for 1944 Nazi massacre

Public prosecutors in the German town of Celle have opened an investigation into a former SS man believed to have been involved in a 1944 massacre in France. The SS Panzerdivision of the Hitlerjugend killed 86 people.

A 94-year-old man from Nordstemmen, Lower Saxony, is under investigation for murder, Bernd Kolkmeier, spokesman for the local prosecution authority, confirmed on Monday after a report in the Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

The prosecutors are examining whether the man will be charged with the shooting of women, men and children on the night of the April 2, 1944, in the village of Villeneuve d'Ascq near the city of Lille. On that date, the 12th SS Panzerdivision of the "Hitlerjugend" killed 86 men and women aged 15 to 75 years.

The spokesman could not say what exactly the suspect had done during the action in Villeneuve d'Ascq. "I do not want to anticipate the investigation," he said. 

The general public prosecutor responsible, Jens Lehmann, was also involved in the trial of the so-called "Auschwitz accountant" Oskar Gröning in Lüneburg.

Gröning was convicted of accessory to murder for his part in the so-called "Hungarian action," when hundreds of thousands of Jewish people from Hungary were murdered at Auschwitz.

The conviction was confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice at the end of 2016. Other SS officers involved in the Holocaust have also been put on trial in recent years in an attempt to rectify decades of failure by the German judiciary to bring people directly involved in the Holocaust to justice.

jbh/bk (dpa/epd)

Date 09.10.2017