Monday 25 September 2017

Nazi, 92, faces war crime trial

Siert Bruins the 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS, accused of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944 (AP)
Siert Bruins the 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS, accused of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944 (AP)

A 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS has gone on trial in Germany accused of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944.

Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who is now German, volunteered for the SS after the Nazis conquered the Netherlands in 1941. Bruins served as a member of the Sicherheitspolizei, or Security Police, in a unit looking for resistance fighters and Jews.

No pleas are made in the German legal system, and Bruins made no statement about the accusations against him. His lawyer said he would answer questions during the trial but not about the charges.

Despite his age, Bruins was found medically fit to stand trial, although his lawyers said the stress of the proceedings against him has weakened him.

Bruins, who already served time in prison in the 1980s for his role in the killing of two Dutch Jews, is accused of killing resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 in the town of Appingedam, near the German border in the northern Netherlands. He faces a possible life sentence.

Mr Dijkema, whose sister has joined the trial as a co-plaintiff, which is allowed under German law, was taken by the Nazis on suspicion he was involved in the Dutch resistance.

According to prosecutors, Bruins and alleged accomplice August Neuhaeuser, who has since died, drove Mr Dijkema a short time later to an isolated industrial area where they stopped and told him to "go take a leak."

As he walked away from the car, they fired at least four shots into him, including into the back of his head, killing him instantly. They said he was shot while trying to escape.

Press Association

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