One of the Netherlands last wanted war criminals, 88-year-old SS member Heinrich Boere, has been jailed for life by a German court for the murder of three Dutch civilians in 1944.
Boere told the court in Aachen that he had been following orders when he killed three men as part of a death squad. The killings were in revenge for attacks by the resistance on the German occupiers.
The three were Fritz Bichnese, a chemist and father of 12 children, bicycle seller Teun de Groot who helped Jews go into hiding, and member of the resistance Frans Kusters.
‘In 1944 I did not for one moment feel I was involved in a crime. Now, of course, I see things differently,’ news agency ANP quoted him as saying during the trial.
Born in Germany to a German mother and Dutch father, Boere was captured by the Americans after the war and sent to a prison camp in Limburg. He escaped in 1949 and went to his mother’s home in Maastricht where, according to Nos tv, he spent seven years in hiding.
He was tried in his absence and sentenced to death and in 1954 fled to Germany where he has lived ever since.
The Netherlands tried several times to have Boere extradited but Germany does not extradite its own nationals. New rules have now made his prosecution possible in Germany. A lower court had ruled Boere was too weak to stand trial but this was overturned on appeal.
Boere is wheelchair bound and lives in a nursing home.
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