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Former SS soldier charged for disparaging Nazi victims & denying Holocaust in TV interview

Former SS soldier charged for disparaging Nazi victims & denying Holocaust in TV interview
A former SS officer has been arrested and charged with incitement after telling TV interviewers that victims of a World War II Nazi massacre were to blame for their own deaths. He was also charged with denying the Holocaust.

In an interview for a German TV program, the former officer, 96-year-old Karl Munter, admitted his role in a massacre in the French village of Ascq during the latter half of the Second World War. Taking revenge for acts of sabotage by the French resistance, Munter’s SS unit rounded up 86 villagers and shot them dead; some of the victims were as young as 15.

The ex-SS officer defended the killings in the interview, suggesting that the villagers had brought their fate upon themselves.

“If I arrest men, I have responsibility for them, and if they run away, I have the right to shoot them,” Munter said in the controversial broadcast, although he denies shooting anybody himself and insists he only helped take the victims into custody.

“Why should I regret it?” he claimed. “I didn’t fire a shot.”

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Munter also told the interviewers that “there weren’t millions of Jews at the time” of the Holocaust, arguing “that’s already been disproved,” for which he faces an additional charge. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they have charged the former officer with incitement and for disparaging the memory of the dead, which carry possible jail sentences of five and two years, respectively, the AFP news agency reported. Munter’s defense argues that he didn’t realize he was being recorded, and that the World War II vet does not view his statements as incitement.

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In 1949, Munter was sentenced to death in absentia by a French court for his participation in the Ascq executions, but managed to avoid punishment until he was pardoned six years later, as part of a French-German post-war reconciliation deal. German prosecutors considered reopening his case, but dropped the investigation last year over concerns of “double jeopardy,” or charging somebody for the same crime twice.

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