Another SS guard in the dock, but why now?
Today it has been reported that Hubert Zafke, a 95-year-old former SS medic at the Auschwitz death camp, will go on trial next month on at least 3,681 counts of accessory to murder. According to the indictment, Zafke worked as an SS medical orderly at the camp from August 15, 1944 to September 14, 1944. During this time many thousands of prisoners arrived by train — including the teenage diarist Anne Frank — many would eventually be killed in the gas chambers.
The trial will start on 29 February in Neubrandenburg despite Zafke being frail and allegedly suffering from dementia.
Not surprisingly the papers are full of the story which comes just days after the re-publishing of Mein Kampf in Germany for the first time in seventy-odd years, yet I wonder why this trial is taking place now, in 2016, when Zafke is 95 and probably knocking quite vigorously on death’s door. When I see these stories of elderly men being put on trial (remember the case of the 94 yr old “Book-keeper of Auschwitz” Oskar Groening last year?) I do wonder why it has taken so long to get these men in the dock. Has there been a cover-up? Have people been hiding or protecting them all this time? Is it because the international community simply hasn’t really been that interested in finding them? Has the German government been in denial? Or are these men just really, really good at hide and seek?
Answers on a postcard…