Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Bundesgericht Verdict Recognizing Service As Concentration Camp Guard As Basis For Cancellation Of Government Pension; Urges Expedition Of Investigation Of Wartime Service To Finalize Decision

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today welcomed the in-principle verdict of a court in Kassel which late last week decided that service as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp during the Third Reich is sufficient grounds to cancel a pension granted by the state in accordance with a law passed in 1998, whereby individuals who “violated the norms of humanity” can be denied special disability pensions awarded to individuals injured during their service during World War II. At the same time, the Center urged the court, which refrained from finalizing the pension cancellation of a man who served as a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp, to expedite the examination of his service to fully clarify if he ever sought to obtain a transfer from the camp or actively opposed the crimes against humanity being carried out there, which might serve as a reason to continue his pension.

In a statement issued in Germany and Israel, by the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center stressed the importance of the legal precedent established by the court and expressed the hope that the application of the law calling for the cancellation of the pensions of those who violated the norms of humanity during the Holocaust would not be impeded by endless appeals launched by Nazi war criminals. Zuroff called upon the German authorities to expedite whatever investigations had to be completed before a final decision could be made in this case.

According to Zuroff:

“The process of canceling the special disability pensions of Nazi war criminals is an important dimension of the justice being meted out in Germany to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. In this respect the passage of time is irrelevant and even at this date, it is important that those who committed heinous crimes not be treated as honored citizens of German society. We urge the German judicial authorities to do everything in their power to maximize the expedition of this process.”

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