88-year-old charged in WWII massacre

January 09, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

BERLIN: German prosecutors have charged an 88-year-old former soldier over the Nazis’ worst atrocity on French soil, the 1944 massacre in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, a court said yesterday.

The suspect, who was not identified, is believed to have belonged to an armoured division of the SS that attacked Oradour-sur-Glane and wiped out nearly all its inhabitants, an act of retribution ordered over the purported kidnapping of a commander. “The prosecutor’s office in Dortmund has charged an 88-year-old pensioner from Cologne over the murder of 25 people committed by a group, and with aiding and abetting the murder of several hundred people,” the regional court of Cologne said in a statement.

SS troops massacred 642 people in the tiny village in western France on June 10, 1944 during World War II, in an atrocity that deeply scarred the French nation. “The prosecutor’s office accuses the suspect of causing, along with other members of his company, the deaths of 25 men,” said the statement.

It said the accused would have until the end of March to raise any objections to the case going to trial.

Dortmund state prosecutor Andreas Brendel said the accused, who was 19 at the time of the slaughter and among six men still facing possible prosecution, denies the charges.