A 92 - year - old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS is being tried in Germany on charges of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944.
The Hagen state court in western Germany proceeded with the murder trial of Dutch - born German citizen Siert Bruins on Monday, officials said. The court accused him of killing resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in the town of Appingedam in the Netherlands in September 1944. Prosecutors alleged Bruins and an accomplice drove Dijkema to an isolated industrial area where they fired at least four shots into him, including into the back of his head, killing him instantly. Bruins and his accomplice, who is now dead, said Dijkema was shot while trying to escape. Despite his age, Bruins was found medically fit to stand trial. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence.
“We must make it clear for the future that such crimes are always prosecuted, that murderers never get away, ” said Ulrich Sander, spokesman for an organization representing the victims of Nazi crimes.
In the 1980s, Bruins already served time in prison for his role in the murders of two Dutch Jews. In 1949, Bruins was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands. Attempts to extradite him have failed because of his German citizenship, which was obtained through a policy initiated by Adolf Hitler that conferred citizenship on foreigners who served with the Nazis. German federal prosecutors have recently started a new phase of investigations into alleged Nazi-era crimes, with the announcement of possible charges against about 40 former Auschwitz guards. The announcement comes after a 2011 conviction against former American autoworker, John Demjanjuk, whose case established that death camp guards could be convicted despite a lack of specific evidence of atrocities against them.