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Monday, 24 January, 2000, 14:59 GMT
Nazi suspect dies

The pensioner was accused of holocaust atrocities

A suspected Nazi war criminal who was the centre of media attention after he was found living in Britain has died in hospital.

Alexander Schweidler, 78, was rushed to Milton Keynes General Hospital in the early hours of Monday morning, after his wife contacted the emergency services.

I deeply regret that Schweidler did not live to stand trial for the hideous crimes committed whilst he was a guard in the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp
Lord Janner
The former SS officer died at 0430 GMT. His widow Anna appealed through the police for privacy following her husband's death.

The police had said last week the pensioner could not be prosecuted due to insufficient evidence.

It followed a report in the Guardian newspaper that Schweidler was involved in atrocities at the Mathausen camp in Austria where more than 80,000 people were murdered.

Schweidler denied murdering prisoners but is said to have signed a document admitting he shot dead two escaping Soviet PoWs.

The pensioner said his signature had been falsified and denied knowledge of mass killings at the camp.

But despite the denial and the police statement, the head of the Holocaust Educational Trust said he had evidence - in the form of a judgment from a US court - that Schweidler had been involved in wartime atrocities.

Konrad Kalejs fled the UK
After hearing of Schweidler's death, former war crimes investigator Lord Janner said: "I deeply regret that Schweidler did not live to stand trial for the hideous crimes committed whilst he was a guard in the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp.

"No-one will forget that tens of thousands of people were murdered in that camp"

The accusations followed the recent controversy surrounding alleged Nazi death squad officer Konrad Kalejs, who fled the UK earlier this month.

State pensioner

Schweidler has been a naturalised British citizen since 1964, and had been able to draw a full state pension, it was reported.

The Metropolitan Police said a man was interviewed in 1996 in connection with specific allegations, and attended a police station with his solicitor, but was not arrested.

Further enquiries were made, which included officers travelling to Austria, and a report was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to allow for a realistic chance of a conviction.

Schweidler was informed in 1997 that no further action would be taken against him.

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See also:
20 Jan 00 |  UK
'No case' against Nazi suspect
06 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Nazi suspect flees Britain
06 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Straw defends 'Nazi' decision
04 Jan 00 |  UK
Britain's chequered war crimes history

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