BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Former SS officer tried for murder
Friedrich Engel
Mr Engel says he was carrying out orders
A 93-year-old former Nazi SS officer has gone on trial in the German city of Hamburg, charged with ordering the murder of 59 Italian prisoners-of-war in 1944.

Branded the "Butcher of Genoa" by the Italian media, Friedrich Engel is accused of taking a bloody revenge for an attack on a cinema for German soldiers.

As long as individuals are healthy, they must be held accountable for their crimes

Efraim Zuroff, Simon Wiesenthal Center
Last year he expressed regret for having had a role in the killings, but said he was only carrying out orders.

Mr Engel, who denies the charge of murder, is expected to give evidence during the trial.

The killings, in the Turino Pass, took place on 19 May 1944.

Rough grave

The victims were forced to stand in groups of six on a plank over a rough grave dug by Jewish prisoners.

They were shot, and were buried where they fell.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the opening of the German trial, describing it as an "important act of moral significance".

Four massacres

"As long as individuals are healthy, they must be held accountable for their crimes," Efraim Zuroff, director of the centre's Israeli branch.

Mr Engel was in 1944 the leader of the elite SS force in the port city of Genoa.

An Italian court has already sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment for killing at least 246 Italian prisoners.

It said he bore responsibility for four separate massacres committed in the final two years of the war.

Eyewitnesses have accused him of shooting some of the victims himself.

See also:

23 Apr 01 | Europe
Former Nazi goes on trial
03 Apr 01 | UK
German Nazi jailed at 83
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories