On March 29, 1945, some 60 Jewish slave labourers were shot in Deutsch Schützen, Austria, a town in what is now the Austrian province of Burgenland. One of the suspected murderers is former SS Junior Squad Leader Adolf Storms.
Though Storms’ identity was known in 1946 – he was listed in the German telephone book – Austrian authorities never apprehended him. Adolf Storms died in 2010 shortly before the trial against him was opened.
Adolf Storms was born in 1919. During World War II, he was a sergeant of the 5th SS Division “Wiking”, a division of the Waffen SS, which had participated in the war of aggression against the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1944. The division’s fallback led it from Hungary to the Czech Republic and finally to Austria.
Storms, who was 90 years old, was on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted Nazi suspects.He was accused of the massacre of at least 57 Jewish forced labourers in Austria at the end of World War II.
Prosecutors in Germany were investigating the accusations against him and preparing a trial.The prosecutor in the city of Dortmund, Andreas Brendel, said investigators had recently been checking if Storms was fit for trial.
Mr Brendel said he had had strong evidence against Storms.
The former SS officer and unidentified accomplices forced the labourers to hand over their valuables and kneel by a grave before shooting them.
Storms was also accused of having shot another man on the day after the massacre.He was alleged to have shot the man because he was too weak to take part in a forced march.
Several former members of the Hitler Youth, who had helped the SS guards during the march, gave witness statements against Storms.
The accused worked as a railway station manager for decades until a student at the University of Vienna found his name in documents alleging his involvement in war crimes.
The student and his professor, Walter Manoschek, tracked him down and Manoschek then visited Storms several times. The professor conducted about 12 hours of interviews in which Storms repeatedly said that he does not remember the killings.He said it was war and I was a young lad. When he was told that the massacre did happen, his reply was “Well if that is so I suppose I am a murderer”