BERLIN (JTA) — Accused Nazi war criminal Hans Lipschis was released from custody in Germany after being diagnosed with dementia.
The arrest warrant against Lipschis, 94, was canceled Friday due to a psychiatrist’s determination that the alleged former SS guard at Auschwitz was suffering from the early stages of the illness and therefore might not sufficiently understand and respond to the charges against him, according to reports.
Lipschis had been held in the Hohenasperg prison hospital near Stuttgart since May on charges of complicity in hundreds of murders at the Nazi death camp.
A state court in Germany must decide if a trial should take place, reportedly depending on Lipschis’ state of health.
At the time of his arrest, Lipschis was called one of the 10 most wanted Nazis in a report by Zeit Online newspaper.
In April, he told the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag that he was in Auschwitz “as a cook the whole time.”
Lipschis, a native of Lithuania, reportedly moved to Chicago in 1956. He was stripped of his American citizenship and deported in 1982 after U.S. immigration authorities determined that he had lied about his Nazi past in order to gain entry into the country.
His arrest in Germany last spring followed the release of information to German courts on about 50 former Auschwitz guards. All the suspects are approximately 90 years old.