FRANKFURT (Dec. 23)
A German court has given 20 months of probation to a man involved in the World War II murder of Jewish children in a Ukrainian village.
The court found Ernst Hering, 75, guilty of guarding the site in Israelowka where 19 children under the age of 10 were shot or beaten to death by the Nazi SS.
The judges said Hering also helped guard about 60 Jewish residents in his native village before they were shot to death in a pit on the edge of the town.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the conviction in what may be one of Germany’s last war crimes trials.
Hering’s conviction “once again proves the possibility of achieving a measure of justice more than 50 years after the crimes were committed,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the center’s Israel office, said in a statement.
Klaus Schacht, a German official involved in the investigation of suspected Nazi war criminals, said Hering’s sentence was in line with similar ones handed down against guards who assisted the Nazis but did not plan or carry out murders.
The trial took place in a juvenile court because Hering was 19 years old at the time the events took place.
The court said the sentence took into account Hering’s confession during the trial, as well as his relative youth at the time of the crime.
State prosecutors had asked for a 2-year prison term.