Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 22:27 GMT 23:27 UK


World: Europe

Ex-Gestapo officer on trial

Mr Goetzfried is accused of taking part in a mass execution of Jews

By Caroline Wyatt in Berlin

A 79-year-old former Gestapo officer is due to go on trial in Stuttgart on Tuesday charged with murdering 500 Jews during a massacre at a Nazi death camp during World War II.

Alfons Goetzfried, an ethnic German born in the Ukraine, is also charged with helping kill 17,000 others at concentration camps in Poland and the Ukraine.


[ image: Majdanek's gas chambers are still stained blue from lethal Zyclon B gas]
Majdanek's gas chambers are still stained blue from lethal Zyclon B gas
German police say that under questioning, Alfons Goetzfried admitted having shot dead at least 500 people, including women and children, at the Nazi death camp of Majdanek in Poland.

The former Gestapo officer later changed his testimony, but German prosecutors say his involvement in the murders in November 1943 was corroborated by archive material.

The Nazis codenamed the two-day massacre Operation Harvest Festival.


[ image: The camp's crematorium processed thousands of corpses]
The camp's crematorium processed thousands of corpses
It happened after Adolf Hitler ordered more than 40,000 Jewish prisoners to be shot to make room for more, after the gas chambers at Majdanek broke down.

The elderly defendant was first questioned in July 1997 at the request of the Metropolitan Police in London as a witness to other Nazi war-crimes, before implicating himself in the killings.

German prosecutors say that Goetzfried was not a high-ranking official and that his case might never have come to light had it not been for his original confession.

Germany is still pursuing dozens of alleged Nazi war criminals who hid in eastern Europe after the war. But the age and ill-health of many of the suspects means trials such as this one are becoming increasingly rare.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

01 Apr 99 | UK
Life for war criminal

01 Apr 99 | UK
Sawoniuk joins infamous list

26 Nov 98 | Europe
Gestapo man charged





Internet Links


The Holocaust History Project


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




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift