Hubert Zafke Trial Halted: Suspension Linked To Health Issues

March 1, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Hubert Zafke’s trial has been suspended due to health issues. Zafke, a 95-year-old retiree, who was a Nazi SS paramedic at the Auschwitz death camp, was charged with being an accessory to murder. He can not appear in court because he has become suicidal in the past days.

Hubert Zafke trial

Hubert Zafke‘s trial has been pushed back. Zafke, a 95-year-old retiree, worked as a guard and paramedic at the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland where 3,681 murders took place. Moreover, he was charged with accessory to murder because the prosecutors believed that he “knew of and willingly supported the industrially organized mass killing people in an insidious and cruel manner.”

The trial was set to begin a few hours ago in a German court, but was suspended due to Hubert Zafke’s health issues. The man could not appear in court because he is suicidal, according to his lawyer, Peter-Michael Diestel. The attorney slammed the country’s decision to take the former SS officer to trial in the first place by saying that it failed to imprison the real criminals, who are using his client as a scapegoat. The attorney said:

“My client is dying and will soon face his highest judge.”

He added:

“I find it extremely embarrassing that German justice … has only done a slipshod job on the Holocaust, and that we’re now trying to cover this up with this sort of trial,” argued the lawyer, who was also the last interior minister of East Germany during its democratic transition before reunification. We are imposing this on the wrong people after those who were responsible were sent home in the 1960s or 70s with overly lenient sentences, had their cases dismissed or were simply acquitted. This proceeding is humanely worrying and questionable from a historical and political point of view.”

As previously reported, Zafke was first hired/recruited as a sergeant at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp between October 1943 and January 1944 and worked as a paramedic between August 15 and September 1944.

Zafke was present when Jewish writer Anne Frank and her family were brought in on a train from Holland’s Westerbork concentration camp on September 5, 1944, along with 498 men, 442 women, and 79 children. Many of them were killed in gas chambers with Zyklon-B pesticide crystals. Zafke was jailed in 1948 in Poland for his involvement in Auschwitz, and few years later he moved back to Germany, sold agricultural products including Zyklon-B pesticide, married, and fathered four sons. Hubert Zafke has always claimed that he was not aware of the horrific events, which occurred in the concentration camps.

What are your thoughts on Hubert Zafke’s trial suspension?

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