A 92-year-old man who served in Adolph Hitler’s elite Waffen-SS is due to go on trial in Germany on charges of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter some 70 years ago. Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who volunteered for the SS after Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1941, will appear in court in the western city of Hagen on Monday, reports the Guardian. He stands accused of shooting the captured Dutch fighter, Aldert Klaas Dijkema, four times in the back, reports the BBC. While he has admitted to being on the scene, the BBC adds that he has denied pulling the trigger.
“[Mr. Dijkema] was shot in the back of his head among other places and died immediately,” the court wrote in a statement. “Later on, the accused and his accomplice admitted that Mr. Dijkema was shot as he tried to flee.”
The Simon Weisenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, launched a campaign in July to root out surviving Nazi war criminals to bring them to justice before they die. The hunt is no longer for high-level perpetrators of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died, but for the thousands of lower-level war Nazi criminals, Reuters reports.
Bruins has already served seven years in prison in the 1980s for being accessory to the murder of two Jewish brothers in April 1945, Reuters reports. His trial is expected to extend over 11 hearings until the end of September.