91-year-old German charged with Nazi crimes

Nazi

A 91-year-old former member of the Nazis' Waffen SS has been charged with murder in the 1944 slaying of a Dutch resistance fighter, who was allegedly executed shortly after he was captured, prosecutors said on Monday.

Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who is now German, already served time in the 1980s for the wartime murder of two Dutch Jews.

Now, Dortmund prosecutor Andreas Brendel told The Associated Press, the suspect is accused of killing resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 in the town of Appingedam, near the German border in the northern Netherlands.

Bruins and accomplice August Neuhaeuser, who has since died, are accused of driving Dijkema to an isolated spot shortly after he had been apprehended and then stopping the car and telling him to "go take a leak."

As he walked away, one of the men then fired at least four shots into Dijkema, including two into the back of his head.

"We don't know exactly who fired the shots, but to be criminally guilty that plays no role," Brendel said. "If both were there with the goal to kill him, it doesn't matter who pulled the trigger."

The two then reported that the prisoner had been shot while trying to escape, Brendel said.

The case has now been turned over to a court in Hagen to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial and Bruins has been taken into custody, Brendel said.

Bruins was already sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands in 1949, later commuted to life in prison, but attempts to extradite him were unsuccessful because he had obtained German citizenship through a policy instituted by Adolf Hitler to confer citizenship on foreigners who served the military of Nazi Germany.

Born in 1921 in the Netherlands in an area near the German border, Bruins volunteered for the Waffen SS in 1941 after the Nazis had already overrun his homeland.

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