BERLIN (JTA) — One of the last major Nazi war crimes trials began in Germany with a former SS member demanding a new chief prosecutor.
Heinrich Boere, 88, is charged with having shot to death three Dutch resistance fighters in the Netherlands in 1944.
The trial opened Wednesday in the District Court of Aachen.
As the defendant watched from his wheelchair behind bulletproof glass, defense attorney Gordon Christiansen said that prosecuting attorney Ulrich Maass was unfit to handle the case after saying on television that he was determined to convict Boere "at any price." Maass later downplayed the accusation while speaking with reporters outside the courtroom.
The trial will resume Monday.
Boere, who has not contested that he shot the three civilians, was ruled fit to stand trial in July, reversing a lower court decision. He had told Focus magazine in April that he was following orders when he killed them.
"It was not difficult," he told the magazine. "You just had to bend a finger."
A Dutch national, Boere fled to Germany and adopted German nationality after being found guilty in Holland, where a death sentence was commuted to life.
The trial of accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk is set to begin in Munich next month.