Leave alleged former Nazi alone

  • Article by: Brandon Ferdig
  • Updated: June 17, 2013 - 6:47 PM

We often confuse it with ‘revenge.’ Would that be the practical outcome if this 94-year-old man, whose has lived in Minnesota for decades, were put on trial now?

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srsmn87Jun. 17, 13 7:05 PM

I got news for you, dude: Zimmerman is guilty. Very, very, very, guilty...

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wildfoxJun. 17, 13 7:06 PM

If guilty he has lived with his demons for many years. This 94 yo man will be judged by a higher power than man.

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JJrose403Jun. 17, 13 7:14 PM

Brandon, The allegations should be investigated; we are not talking about littering here. If he was involved in war crimes, he should stand trial. If found guilty, he should be imprisoned. It's not a question of how much time has passed and if he is a danger to society. Nor is it about revenge, regardless of how people feel about it. If there is no evidence against him and it turns out that he lied about his past in order to gain entry to the US, he should be deported. Actions have consequences or at least they should, and not just until you are 70 or 80 or 90 years old. At what age do we decide a suspectetd killer should be free to go about his life without facing justice for what they have done? Let the investigation hash out what took place and if the evidence allows, prosecute him.

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metoo7Jun. 17, 13 7:25 PM

There is an old adage that winners write the history of war. You have a compelling case for Cheney and Rumsfeld being tried as war criminals due to what happened in Iraq. Henry Kissinger has blood on his hands too. Will anything be done on these modern day war criminals? Are the Iraqi civilians who died because of a phony war less important human beings or less innocent than Holocaust victims? I don't think so. Atrocities in war are covered over by the victors of each war. Eliminate the yellow journalism that leads to phony wars and you will get more at the source that leads to eventual atrocities as a consequence of war.

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cjvirnigJun. 17, 13 7:29 PM

What the author of this article is suggesting is that there ought to be a statute of limitations on the prosecution of murderers. I would wager a vast majority of Americans would disagree. Strongly. Using that train of thought, Charles Manson should be released from prison. Look, this old man deserves due process. If he says he's not a former Nazi, then he is innocent until proven guilty. Anyone who would send him to the proverbial gas chamber without iron clad proof of his past criminality is totally misguided. But if it is, in fact, proven that he was an SS officer who committed murder, he should absolutely stand trial and face those charges. The author of this article hides behind semantics and definitions like a civil rights attorney. But the fact of the matter is, murder is murder.

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wallyworldmnJun. 17, 13 7:34 PM

Don't give him a trial by media. It isn't up to the author to give a this man a pass if he has committed crimes. Due process is for everyone. But if he is guilty as charged, then extradite him. Time is not an excuse for allowing the atrocities of the Nazis. Check the serial number on your arm and then weigh-in. Regardless, he will be judged by a higher power.

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Don9539Jun. 17, 13 7:38 PM

In the fog of war right and wrong are not always very clear.

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rlwr51Jun. 17, 13 7:50 PM

To what you just said in the article, add the fact that as a young man in The Ukraine there was not much of a choice. There was the Russian army that had no food or uniforms or a Siberian work camp (or suicide) or if you had a chance, you could get into the German army, which seemed like saviors in comparison to the Russians (remember the outcome of the war was not known, the Jewish death camps were not known and to these people the Siberian "work camps" and brutality were known). This man belonged to the Ukrainian liberation forces that was attempting to free The Ukraine from Russian rule. (Stalin had starved over 7,000,000 people to control that country) We don't hear anything about war crimes committed by the Russians since they were our allies. ... I once worked with a woman who lived in Latvia at the beginning of WWII - It was pretty much the same scenario, both Russia and Germany were trying to take over her country. She told me that if you were Jewish, you had no choice but if you were not Jewish and you had a choice your best bet was with the Germans. i.e. to keep the people in control the Russians would come into a town and take all of the children. There was an instance that is still commemorated in Latvia where the Russians had heard that the Germans were coming and abandoned a trainload of children. By the time they were found they had all died locked in the boxcars with no food or water. She also told me that as part of their anti-intellectual campaign people with education (doctors, chemists, accountants) would disappear in the middle of the night along with their whole families. . . . . . After the war Russia was allowed to add all of those countries to the Soviet Union as a reward for being our allies. For him to stay would have been certain death. The Russians even sent their returning soldiers who were POWs to the Siberian "work camps" because they had seen the outside world and could no longer be trusted. Maybe we could use this opportunity to look more closely into the history of what was going on in eastern Europe at that time....

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matt5mn01Jun. 17, 13 8:01 PM

I emphatically disagree with the stance that is being taken in this op ed. Revenge and justice are on two different playing fields and cannot be compared to one another. To trivialize justice by calling it revenge makes a mockery of the due process /democratic system for which we as Americans live in - and by which we struggled to fight for in the face of fascism during WW2. There is no question that a 94 year old frail man is “likely” not to cause harm onto others, however it does not answer the questions as to why this may or may not have been done. This argument places a statute of limitations on humans and does not hold those accountable for their actions. So what is the tipping point? When can someone be set free of their indiscretions? Is it 25, 40, or 50 years later? What if it were a priest that raped boys and had not done so in fifty years, should he too not be held accountable? Based on this logic, he too should not be held accountable. Actions have consequences and without due process, we lose ground on what so many other countries and societies aspire to be.

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cjvirnigJun. 17, 13 8:35 PM

Let's all be clear about one thing. This old man is an alleged former SS officer. For those of you who are unaware, an SS officer is not merely a grunt soldier who simply must follow orders. This is way more than alleged guilty by association. The SS was Hitler's ultra-elite secret police. They were ruthless and were able to operate with virtual impunity; that included murdering, raping, beating, etc. Some people on this board seem to think he was just a low ranking grunt soldier. Fact is, German soldiers were not necessarily Nazis. The rub is that Hitler had control of the military. SS officers, though, were very much dedicated Nazi Party operatives.

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