Death before justice - Macleans.ca

Death before justice

Samuel Kunz was charged with atrocities at the death camp, but died before trial

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Death before justice

Yad Vashem Photo Archive/AP

He was accused of aiding in the murder of 430,000 Jews at the Belzec death camp, and of shooting 10 people dead. But before Samuel Kunz, 89, could stand trial, he died on Nov. 18 in his home near Bonn.

Kunz, born in Russia to an ethnic German family, was captured by the Germans during the Second World War and given the choice of becoming a POW or working with the Nazis. He allegedly chose the latter, and was accused of leading Jews into gas chambers and throwing corpses into mass graves. He allegedly shot and killed wounded prisoners, and Jews trying to escape trains headed for a death camp.

After the war, Kunz resumed a seemingly normal life in Germany. He worked as a civil servant, and though he was questioned about his past, the former guard avoided trial. In April, Kunz became the third-most-wanted living Nazi when he caught the attention of investigators preparing for the trial of John Demjanjuk, the man accused of being an accessory in the murder of nearly 30,000 people. Kunz was to stand trial next year.