Former SS officer, 92, on trial for killing Dutch Resistance fighter

Sept. 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM
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HAGAN, Germany, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- A former Nazi SS officer faced a murder trial in the death of a Dutch Resistance fighter nearly 70 years ago during World War II.

Siert Bruins, 92, a Dutch-born German, went on trial in Hagan, Germany, Monday for the death of Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 while Bruins was stationed on the Germany-Netherlands border, the BBC reported.

There are no pleas in the German legal system, and Bruins made no statement Monday, NDTV reported.

"Our tactic will definitely be to keep silent with regard to the charges," attorney Klaus-Peter Kniffka said before the trial.

NDTV said because of Bruins' advanced age, daily trial sessions are restricted to three hours.

Bruins is accused of shooting Dijkema, a prisoner, four times in the back in September 1944. While he admitted being at the scene, Bruins said he wasn't the one who pulled the trigger. He said he was beside the prisoner when the shots were fired. He was accused in the death with an alleged accomplice who has died.

Bruins, originally from Groningen in northeastern Netherlands, is one of the last suspected Nazi criminals held in Germany, the BBC said. Another former SS officer, Heinrich Boere, began a life sentence in December 2011 after he was convicted of murdering three Dutch civilians during World War II.

After World War II, Bruins lived in Germany, which refused to extradite him to face charges in the Netherlands, the BBC said.

In 1980, Bruins was sentenced by a German court to seven years in prison for the murder of two Jewish brothers.

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