BONN (May. 18)
The three judges who sentenced Josef Schwammberger to life imprisonment in a Stuttgart court Monday said he killed for both ideological and personal reasons.
The former SS officer was filled with hatred of Jews and others and derived satisfaction from torturing and killing his victims, the jurists said.
The Nazi war criminal, who was extradited from Argentina in 1990 to stand trial here, was found guilty of personally murdering seven Jews and complicity in the murders of 32 others when he was commandant of three forced -labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.
While the life sentence handed down would make Schwammberger eligible for parole in 13 to 15 years, at age 80 and in poor health he is not considered likely to leave prison alive.
The Anti-Defamation League commended the court “for pronouncing the maximum sentence.”
In a statement released Monday in New York, Elliot Welles, director of the ADL Task Force on Nazi War Criminals, said, “We have waited a long time for justice in this case. He was one of the most cruel and vicious Nazis.”
Outside the court, about 30 neo-Nazi activists demonstrated against the trial and what they called the “lies” about the Holocaust.
But another group of demonstrators demanded more trials for Nazi war criminals.
According to the German news media, Schwammberger’s was the last such major proceeding. Lately, however, German state prosecutors-have said that long-hidden–documents found in the archives of former East Germany could help bring additional suspects to trial.
Schwammberger’s trial lasted 11 months, during which he was confined to the maximum security prison of Stammheim.
The accused denied all charges against him, claiming no memory of what happened at the slave camps in his charge.
But there were no problems with the memories of the scores of witnesses who identified him at the trial as a torturer and a killer.