NEW YORK (Nov. 28)
An Argentine judge has approved the extradition to West Germany of accused Nazi war criminal Josef Schwammberger.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported that Argentine Federal Judge Vicente Bretal of La Plata ruled Monday in favor of the extradition of Schwammberger, 76, who is accused of brutally shooting and torturing hundreds of Jews in Poland as commandant of a ghetto and several labor camps during World War II.
Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, ADL Latin American affairs director, who visited Argentina two weeks ago to discuss suspected fugitive Nazis in that country, received the news Monday by phone from Argentine Attorney General Andres Jose d’Alessio.
D’Alessio, who had discussed the Schwammberger case with Rosenthal in Argentina, said an appeal was anticipated but that he expects that Schwammberger will have his citizenship revoked and that he will be deported to West Germany.
D’Alessio said the first appeal decision would probably come in around March.
“We are very pleased by the court’s decision and we are confident that the decision will be upheld by the appeals court,” said Rosenthal.
The West German government first requested Schwammberger’s extradition 14 years ago.
Documents provided by a Stuttgart court described him as a former SS officer responsible for hundreds of executions while commandant of the Rozwadow ghetto in 1942.
Schwammberger also served at the Przemysl labor camp at the end of 1943 and as director of a labor camp at Mielec in 1944-45.
Schwammberger, a native of Austria, was arrested a year ago on a remote ranch in the Argentine province of Cordoba, and has been detained in that country since.
Argentine authorities involved in his arrest claimed Schwammberger did not deny he was a camp commandant in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Four Holocaust survivors, accompanied by staff people from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, traveled to Argentina this summer from the United States and Canada to testify against Schwammberger.
The Wiesenthal Center hailed Judge Bretal’s decision.
One of the eyewitnesses who testified against Schwammberger last year, Abraham Secemski of Chicago, told the center Monday, “I now feel confident that Schwammberger will at long last have to stand before the bar of justice.”
In another development, ADL’s Rosenthal also reported Monday the apparent disappearance of accused Dutch Nazi Abraham Kipp, who was previously located in Argentina.
Rosenthal said Dutch television reported Nov. 24 that Kipp, tried and sentenced to death in absentia in 1949 by a Dutch court for the murder of at least 20 persons, reportedly disappeared and that his house outside Buenos Aires boasts a “for sale” sign.
Kipp, who was born in Amsterdam, served the occupying Nazi forces as a policeman, reportedly rounding up members of the Dutch resistance and other men, women and children, including many Jews, ADL reports.