Southeastern PA

German prosecutors criticized in probe of suspected Nazi guard

BERLIN - A lawyer for families of alleged victims of a suspected Nazi death camp guard who died this week before he could be extradited for trial said German investigators should have acted more quickly to bring charges.

Thomas Walther, who represents seven members of victims' families, said Thursday that Johann Breyer's death in Philadelphia "clearly demonstrates the devastating effects of a hesitant and unnecessary pseudo-investigative procedure to the German justice system and public."

Breyer was charged with being an accessory to murder in the deaths of 216,000 Jews at Auschwitz.

Walther blamed the Weiden prosecutors' office, which led the investigation, for delays in providing U.S. authorities with documents, and for a decision to take statements from Auschwitz survivors that "contributed nothing" to the case.

Weiden prosecutors weren't immediately available for comment.

Breyer admitted he was an Auschwitz guard during World War II but said he was stationed outside and had nothing to do with the slaughter of Jews and others there.


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