Former Auschwitz medic found unfit to be transported to trial

NEUBRANDENBURG, Germany -- The trial of a former SS medic on 3,681 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly helping the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp function appeared close to collapse Monday, after a doctor found the 95-year-old unfit to be transported to the court.

See Full Article

Presiding Judge Klaus Kabisch told the Neubrandenburg state court Monday that proceedings couldn't begin after a doctor on the weekend found Hubert Zafke was suffering from stress and high blood pressure, and had suicidal thoughts.

Kabisch said Zafke had told the doctor "I can't take it anymore, I'm at my end," and that "I want to be with mother." The judge said the latter was a reference to Zafke's wife, who died in 2011.

The trial's opening was postponed until the next session on March 14.

Prosecutors allege that Zafke's unit was involved in putting gas into gas chambers to kill Jews and others, screening blood and other samples from hospitalized women prisoners, and otherwise helping the camp run by treating SS guard personnel.

They say the unit was also involved in auxiliary guard duties.

Zafke's attorney insists his client was just a medic who did nothing criminal at Auschwitz.

The trial is one of several in recent years to arise from a shift in German legal thinking. Prosecutors have successfully argued that since Nazi death camps' entire purpose was to murder Jews and others, helping the camp run in any manner makes one an accessory to those murders.

The charges against Zafke stem from a one-month period in 1944 and involve the deaths of Jews who arrived in 14 transports, including one that brought Anne Frank and her family to the camp. Frank died later at Bergen-Belsen.

Zafke was initially found unfit for trial by the court in Neubrandenburg, north of Berlin, but an appeals court overruled that after more medical exams, saying the retired farmer could stand trial so long as sessions were limited to two hours at a time.

Ahead of the trial, prosecutors and attorneys representing Jewish Auschwitz survivors who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law, accused the Neubrandenburg judges of bias, but a motion to have them replaced was rejected.

Cornelius Nestler, who represents two brothers from Colorado who survived Auschwitz as young boys but lost both their parents, said his feelings were reinforced by the court's decision to postpone the trial based on the assessment of a doctor called by Zafke's children on Saturday, while there were two doctors in the court prepared to assess him.

"This court over the last months have shown that it is not interested in this going to trial at all," he said.

Both defence and prosecution agreed that before the next session, Zafke will be assessed the same morning by court-appointed experts.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Special prosecutor to advise RCMP on B.C. political donations

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A special prosecutor has been appointed to provide legal advice to the RCMP over possible violations of British Columbia's Elections Act. A statement from the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch says David Butcher's appointment is in the public interest and he'll help the Mounties with legal advice in an investigation into contributions made to B.C. Source
  • 'Read my lips': Putin denies U.S. election hacking allegations

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin on Thursday emphatically denied allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and said Moscow would maintain hopes of improving relations while waiting for political infighting in Washington to stop. Source
  • Florida man sentenced to five years for DUI crash that killed wife as they had road sex

    World News Toronto Sun
    A Florida man has been sentenced to five years in prison following a booze-fuelled car wreck in 2014 that killed his wife as they had road sex. Matthew Notebaert, 33, told authorities he remembers his wife, Amanda, sitting on his lap before waking up inside their totaled vehicle beside her lifeless body. Source
  • 'I've missed her very much': Ontario man plans reunion with mom after winning lottery

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ontario man is planning to use part of his $12M lottery winnings to reunite with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in 11 years. Sheba Sheba, who lives in Woodbridge, Ont., hasn’t seen his mother, who lives in Lebanon, in 11 years due to distance, health issues and a lack of funds. Source
  • Bombardier under fire for $32.6M US given to executives while taking government cash

    Canada News CBC News
    Bombardier is being slammed for its "sense of entitlement" after awarding $32.6 million US to senior executives even as it laid off thousands of workers and sought government aid. The payout represents an increase of nearly 50 per cent for its top five executives and board chairman, compared with 2015. Source
  • UBC researchers discover marijuana flavour genes, aim to create standards for taste

    Canada News CBC News
    Consumers can trust what varieties of wine taste like regardless of the store they buy it from, and they could soon have similar expectations for strains of marijuana, say researchers at the University of British Columbia. Source
  • 'Angel of Death' serial killer dies after attack in Ohio prison

    World News CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- A serial killer known as the "Angel of Death" after he admitted killing three dozen hospital patients in Ohio and Kentucky died Thursday, two days after investigators said he was attacked in prison, Ohio's prisons department said. Source
  • Trump takes 1st step in NAFTA renegotiation: Sends draft letter to Congress

    World News CBC News
    The Trump administration has taken an early step in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, sending the U.S. Congress a draft list of priorities for the negotiation that expresses hope for change in a broad range of areas. Source
  • Toronto police charge self-professed psychic with practising witchcraft

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police in Toronto say they've charged a 37-year-old man with practising witchcraft. Investigators say the accused advertised his services as an astrologer and psychic in February and March. They allege a 44-year-old man who consulted the accused for psychic services earlier this month was told a sick family member had been the victim of an evil spirit. Source
  • Psychic hit with witchcraft charge after man pays $101K to remove evil spirit: police

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police in Toronto say a psychic has been charged with pretending to practise witchcraft after a customer allegedly paid more than $100,000 to have an "evil spirit" removed. Investigators say the 37-year-old accused advertised his services as an astrologer and psychic in February and March. Source