NEW YORK (Jun. 23)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith called on the Austrian government this week to “prosecute Nazi war criminal Robert Verbelen under Austrian law, or revoke his citizenship so that he may be extradited to Belgium” for trial there.
In a letter to Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, dated June 20, ADL national director Abraham Foxman noted that Verbelen, a Belgian Nazi, was sentenced to death in absentia by a Belgian military court in 1947 for his role in 101 murders during World War II.
He was not extradited to Belgium because he had become an Austrian citizen. “Apparently Verbelen’s Austrian citizenship was not revoked because of claims made by his attorney that it had been granted at the request of the American government,” Foxman wrote.
“This claim has been shown to be absolutely false by the Justice Department’s report.”
Foxman referred to a report by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, released last week, which confirmed that despite his Nazi past, Verbelen was employed by the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps from 1946 to 1956.
“Verbelen can no longer rely on his misrepresentation to maintain his citizenship which was fraudulently secured,” Foxman wrote.
Foxman said that the Belgian-born Verbelen “commanded the Nazi-allied Flemish SS which terrorized the local population through reprisals, torture, assassination and deportations.”