BERLIN — The head of the special German prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi crimes says a probe of 50 suspected former Auschwitz guards is near complete and may result in charges against many of them.

Berlin’s taz newspaper reports more than 40 suspects were found to be still alive in Germany. Prosecutor Kurt Schrimm told The Associated Press on Monday his office planned on recommending charges against most.

State prosecutors then have to review the cases and decide if there is enough evidence to press charges.

Schrimm says the investigations are not quite complete, and that more details would be announced next week.

They are being pursued under a new legal theory that anyone who served in a death camp can be charged as an accessory to murder.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press