HAGEN, Germany — Germany put a 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS on trial Monday on charges that he murdered a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944.
Dutch-born Siert Bruins, who is now German, entered the Hagen state courtroom using a walker, but appeared alert and attentive as the proceedings opened.
No pleas are made in the German system, and Bruins offered no statement. His attorney, Klaus-Peter Kniffka, said after the short 35-minute opening session that it was unlikely his client would ever address the court personally.
"I will probably deliver a defense declaration, but it depends upon the course of the trial," he told reporters.
The trial comes amid a new phase of German Nazi-era investigations, with federal prosecutors this week expected to announce they are recommending the pursuit of possible charges against about 40 former Auschwitz guards.
The renewed probes of death camp guards come after the case of former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction for accessory to murder after allegations he served in Sobibor.
His case established that death camp guards could be convicted as accessories to murder, even if there was no specific evidence of atrocities against them.
Bruins, however, had long been on the radar of German legal authorities and already served time in the 1980s for his role in the wartime slaying of two Dutch Jews.