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War crimes

September 17, 2009

A Spanish National Court judge has issued international arrest warrants for three alleged former guards at Nazi concentration camps, who are charged with complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Four men sitting in a circle preparing food at the concentration camp Mauthausen in Austria.
Over 7,000 Spaniards were incarcerated at Mauthausen.Image: picture-alliance /dpa

International arrest warrants were issued on Thursday by Judge Ismael Moreno, of Spain's National Court, for three men alleged to have worked as prison guards at Nazi concentration camps.

The three, all in their mid 80's, are Johann Leprich and Anton Tittjung, both believed to live in the United States, and Josias Kumpf, who is thought to live in Austria.

The warrants were issued after a Spanish lawsuit was filed by survivors of the World War II concentration camps Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Flossenberg.

According to Moreno, some 7,000 Spaniards were incarcerated in Mauthausen where an estimated 4,300 of them perished.

The lawsuit also targets 89 year-old Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk. However, Moreno decided not to indict him as he is already under investigation in Germany, where he is facing charges relating to the deaths of 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp in what is now Poland.

According to the court document the alleged former guards participated in the persecution of Jews, Spanish and European nationals, and other groups. They are charged with crimes against humanity and genocide.


Editor: Susan Houlton