Dutch Court Orders Re-trial of Menten

The Netherlands Supreme Court, in effect reversing its own previous ruling, today ordered the re-trial of Pieter Menten, a Dutch millionaire art dealer convicted of war crimes while in the service of the Nazi SS during World War II. Menten, who was sentenced by an Amsterdam court in December, 1977 to 15 years imprisonment for the murders of at least 30 Polish Jewish deportees, was freed the following May when the Supreme Court accepted his claim that he had been granted immunity from prosecution by the Ministry of Justice more than 25 years ago.

But on hearing an appeal by the prosecution, the high court decided that Menten had, in fact, not produced conclusive evidence that he was promised amnesty after serving an eight-month jail sentence in 1949 for collaboration with the Germans.

Hundreds of spectators in the court today, many of them concentration camp survivors, cheered the decision. Many of them marched to the Jewish war memorial where they laid a wreath after the Supreme Court handed down the decision. Menten, who has just turned 80, said he was ready to stand trial. “I am sure I shall be acquitted again,” he said. Supreme Court President Charles Moons did not say when the new trial will begin.

Menten was living in luxury and relative obscurity in Holland until 1976 when a series of articles by Dutch Jewish journalist Hans Koop exposed his wartime activities with the SS. He and his wife fled to Switzerland but Menten was subsequently extradited and brought to trial. He was confined to a prison hospital at Scheveningen where he was treated for diabetes.

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