Former SS man charged with 58 murders after student traces him

Author: By David Rising

Andreas Forster, a student at the University of Vienna, was working on a project
about the massacre, which took place in a forest near the Austrian village
of Deutsch Schützen, when he stumbled across Adolf Storms’ name in witness
testimony.

According to his professor, Walter Manoschek, Mr Forster then obtained files
from federal archives in Berlin that enabled him to link the former sergeant
to the massacre.

Professor Manoschek visited Mr Storms, 90, at his home in the city of Duisburg
several times last year after finding him in the phone book. He conducted
about 12 hours of interviews in which Mr Storms repeatedly said that he did
not remember the killings.

Mr Storms and unidentified accomplices are accused of forcing at least 57 of
the Jewish labourers to hand over their valuables and kneel by a grave
before shooting them dead from behind. The killings took place on 29 March
1945. Mr Storms is accused of shooting another Jew the following day, during
a forced march from Deutsch Schützen to the village of Hartberg.

The court described the suspect simply as a “retiree from Duisburg,”
but German authorities have previously identified him as Adolf S. His full
name was given in previous trials in Austria related to other suspects in
the massacre. He has also been identified as a former member of the 5th SS
Panzer Division “Wiking”.

The Duisburg court must decide whether there is enough evidence to bring the
case to trial.

Mr Storms does not appear on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted
Nazi war criminals, but the organisation’s top Nazi-hunter, Efraim Zuroff,
said: “This is a case that clearly shows it is possible, even at this
point, to identify perpetrators who bear responsibility for serious crimes
committed during the Second World War and bring them to justice.”

The remains of the victims of the Deutsch Schützen massacre were found in 1995
in a mass grave by the Austrian Jewish association. A plaque now marks the
site.

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