Dozens of Nazi Guards May Be Tried

Could lead to a new crop of Nazi trials 70 years after the end of World War II

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The special prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi war crimes in Germany recommended charges Tuesday against dozens of alleged former guards at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

If pursued, they would lead to a new crop of Nazi trials 70 years after the end of World War II, the Associated Press reports.

An investigation of about 50 suspected former Auschwitz guards presented enough evidence for state prosecutors to pursue charges of accessory to murder against 30 of them in Germany, said Kurt Schrimm, the head of the Ludwigsburg federal prosecutors’ office. The prosecutors’ offices in Germany’s individual states will determine whether the elderly suspects — both men and women — are fit to stand trial.

Under a new legal argument being made by prosecutors, anyone who was involved in the operation of a death camp could be considered accessory to murder. Ukranian-born John Demajanjuk was the first person convicted in Germany in 2011 solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard without any evidence of involvement in specific killings.

About 1.5 million people, including 960,000 Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex alone between 1940 and 1945, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.