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World Questions over testimony of US witness in Nazi guard's trial

05:40  15 january  2020
05:40  15 january  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Reinhold Hanning was a Nazi guard 70 years ago. With a trial focused on the broader context of the camp rather than the actions of the defendant himself, Hanning has often seemed like a “They remind us that this genocide would never have taken place without these lowly foot soldiers,” says Douglas.

A former SS guard wept in the dock on the first day of his trial for complicity in mass murder at a Nazi Initially composed, the defendant wept when the testimony of Holocaust survivors was read out by “That is a legal and moral question .” Germany has been racing to try surviving SS personnel

The testimony of a Florida man in one of Germany's last Nazi trials has been called into question after German media raised doubts about his claims that he was imprisoned in a concentration camp as an infant.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Doubts have emerged about Moshe Peter Loth's testimony© Christian Charisius/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/FILE Doubts have emerged about Moshe Peter Loth's testimony

Moshe Peter Loth, the 76-year-old American witness and co-plaintiff in the trial of a former prison guard known as "Bruno D.," hit the headlines in November when he tearfully hugged the accused in court and said, "Watch, everyone, I will forgive him."

"Bruno D." is standing trial in Hamburg accused of being an accessory to thousands of murders while serving in the SS as a guard between August 1944 and April 1945.

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Former Nazi bookkeeper at Auschwitz on trial as accessory to murder. He recalled how a fellow guard "I cried after my mom and she heard me, turned around," Bohm recalled. " We just looked at each He was lucid as his testimony began but gradually lost focus and Kompisch ended the court

Nazi death camp guard Reinhold Hanning, 94, sentenced for role in facilitating slaughter at camp in “Mr Hanning, we are virtually the same age and soon we will face our final judge. I would like to ask Trial of 95-year-old former SS medic who served at death camp opens but questions over his fitness

Loth, who says he is a Holocaust survivor, claimed he and his Jewish mother were imprisoned at Stutthof concentration camp, in Nazi-occupied Poland, after his birth on September 2, 1943, according to his lawyer.

He said he was the victim of medical experiments and had to live as an outcast even after the war, according to his lawyer.

It was at the camp that a prison number was tattooed on his and his mother's arms, according to documents Loth submitted to the court, a spokesperson for the court told CNN.

On Monday, Hamburg district court spokesperson Kai Wantzen told CNN that research by the presiding judge Anne Meier-Göring found ''prison numbers were only tattooed in Auschwitz [concentration camp] but not at Stutthof."

The court -- which has been reviewing Loth's documentation -- therefore did not view Loth's testimony as ''particularly credible and plausible," Wantzen said.

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He is 94 today, at the centre of what is likely to be one of the last ever Nazi war crimes trials . But Reinhold Hanning was 20 years old in 1942 when he

It is unclear whether Loth and his mother, Helene, were incarcerated at the camp together, the court added.

On Monday, Loth withdrew from being part of the trial. He has not withdrawn his testimony, Wantzen added.

Loth's lawyer, Salvatore Barba, declined to respond to numerous requests for comment from CNN in the past week, and instead referred CNN to his statement published by German news magazine Der Spiegel in December.

Barba said in a statement on Monday that his mandate had ended "after my client himself withdrew from the co-lawsuit."

Through his lawyers, Loth told German news magazine Der Spiegel, which first reported doubts about his testimony, that he "had spent his whole life searching for his true identity."

Red flags

Cracks began to emerge in Loth's account in December when Der Spiegel reported that Loth's family was not Jewish. The magazine said it had seen documents from the registry office in Dortmund and church register entries, as well as one other unspecified registry office, suggesting they were Protestant.

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Auschwitz survivors continue to testify at the trial of a former guard at the Nazi death camp. Oskar Groening, dubbed 'The Bookkeeper of Auschwitz', is accused of helping to murder more than 300,000 people. Susan Pollack, who survived the concentration camp at Auschwitz, the death marches and

Nazi hunters and protesters who had demonstrated outside his home for years had no doubts. In painful detail, witnesses like Rudie S . Cortissos recited dates when the trains arrived, the number of Evidence at the trial also filled in previously unknown details of Mr. Demjanjuk’ s life between Sobibor

CNN has not been able to independently verify Der Spiegel's reporting on the religion of Loth's family, and has reached out to the registry office in Dortmund.

Der Spiegel reported that Loth's mother was imprisoned in the camp, citing records from Stutthof concentration camp. She was held for "education" for a short time in March 1943 and her inmate number was 20038, it reported.

According to camp records seen by CNN, Helene Loth was released from the camp on April 1, 1943 -- months before Loth was born in September 1943.

Der Spiegel's investigation, as well as CNN's, found no evidence of Helene Loth's Jewish origin in Stutthof concentration camp's registry.

Barba told Der Spiegel that Loth had been "seeking his true identity all his life" and often only had oral accounts to rely on. Many questions are "unfortunately not answered to this day," Barba told the magazine, adding that: "so far, he has found no reason to doubt these (oral) reports."

The lawyer for Holocaust survivor Judith Meisel, who is one of 36 co-plaintiffs in the case, told CNN that Der Spiegel's report "casts a shadow over this criminal case."

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He said the testimony in the trial so far by three witnesses who were at Auschwitz has been That changed with the 2009 trial of a former Nazi guard at Sobibor death camp, John Demjanjuk. Since the Demjanjuk trial , German prosecutors have been building cases against the few remaining former

Testimony given by a witness is a similar, but separate idea from testimonials . “ Testimonial ” is obviously a similar word to testimony , but a testimonial is general the word used with reference to marketing “ testimony ,” in which some party is giving an affirmation of the properties of a particular

Ongoing trial

The trial of 93-year-old "Bruno D." is due to wrap up in May, the court said. According to the indictment, the former Nazi guard knowingly supported the "insidious and cruel killing" of 5,230 people at Stutthof.

Despite his advanced age, the defendant is being tried in a youth court because he was 17 years old when he joined the SS as a guard at the camp, according to a press release from Hamburg's district court.

Prisoners in Stutthof were killed by being shot in the back of the neck, poisoned with Zyklon B gas, and denied food and medicine, court documents allege.

The defendant has admitted to being a guard at the camp, but told the court at the beginning of his trial that he had no choice at the time. Over the last few months, the court has heard harrowing testimonies from witnesses who now live across the globe.

Stutthof was a Nazi concentration and extermination camp located 22 miles east of Danzig -- which is now the Polish city of Gdańsk.

First established by the Nazis in 1939, Stutthof went on to house a total of 115,000 prisoners, more than half of whom -- some 65,000 -- died there. Around 22,000 went on to be transferred from Stutthof to other Nazi camps.

It is believed that approximately six million Jewish people died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Also killed were hundreds of thousands of Roma people and people with mental or physical disabilities.

This story has been updated.

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