ROME (Aug. 8)
Italian police last week arrested Nazi war criminal Anton Malloth, who has been sought by West German authorities for murder and torture of concentration camp prisoners.
Malloth, 76, was apprehended at the home of his wife and daughter in the northern Italian town of Merano, near the village where he grew up.
Malloth spent five years as an officer in the concentration camps of Litomerice and Terezin, in Czechoslovakia. In 1948, a Czech court sentenced Malloth to death in absentia for murdering one prisoner and torturing others.
Although born in Innsbruck, Austria, Malloth grew up in the South Tyrol province of Italy, known as Alto Adige, a province which belonged to Austria prior to World War I. To this day, the dominant ethnic group of this province is Austrian, and German is its mother tongue.
In 1939, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini forced the province’s inhabitants to choose either Italian or German citizenship. Like thousands of his compatriots, Malloth chose German, and then joined Hitler’s Wehrmacht. He subsequently became a marshal in the SS.
Malloth was expelled at least twice from Italy, but was able to re-enter the country numerous times, including in 1948, when he received the Czech death sentence. Malloth requested and requested and received Italian citizenship at the time.
“I’ve been here many times,” Malloth told Italian reporters. “I’ve been able to make a living working for local farmers or in local restaurants.”
Malloth was stripped of his Italian citizenship in 1956 because of his war record. He then obtained West German citizenship.
In 1972, West German authorities issued an arrest warrant for Malloth’s arrest.
In 1983, he was located in Merano by Nazihunter Simon Wiesenthal, who said last week that West Germany would certainly seek Malloth’s extradition.