A 90-YEAR-OLD former SS sergeant who was No 4 on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted Nazi war crimes suspects has died before he could be brought to trial, German authorities said.
Adolf Storms died at his home in the western city of Duisburg on June 28, Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel said yesterday. The exact cause of death was not revealed.
Brendel’s office charged Storms in November with 58 counts of murder for his alleged involvement in a massacre of Jewish forced labourers in a forest near the Austrian village of Deutsch Schuetzen. Storms and other unidentified accomplices were accused of forcing at least 57 of the Jewish labourers to hand over their valuables and kneel by a grave before fatally shooting them from behind. A day after the March 29, 1945, massacre, Storms was alleged to have shot another Jew who could no longer walk during a forced march.
Several former members of the Hitler Youth who were helping the SS guard the prisoners on the march provided witness statements, and Brendel said he thought he had strong evidence against Storms.
Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said Storms’ death before a trial was a “classic example” of the challenges his office faces. Storms worked unnoticed for decades as a train station manager until a University of Vienna student doing research uncovered his alleged involvement in the massacre. Storms said he did not remember the killings.
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