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Nazi hunter reports Dane to police over war crimes

Helmuth Leif Rasmussen, 90, accused of serving as a guard at a Belarus concentration camp

Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff in 2009. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff in 2009. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

A top Nazi hunter on Tuesday filed a police complaint against a 90-year-old Danish man for allegedly working as a guard in a Belarus concentration camp during World War II.

“Unfortunately the justice ministry chose not to deal with this … so therefore I have come to Copenhagen to submit the complaint myself,” Efraim Zuroff, the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem director, told journalists.

A Danish book released last year claimed Helmuth Leif Rasmussen worked as a guard in the Bobruisk camp in Nazi-occupied Belarus, citing a police report from 1945.

Rasmussen, who has since changed his name and now lives in the Copenhagen area, has admitted to being part of a volunteer unit created by the Danish Nazi Party, but told daily Berlingske that he only went to Bobruisk as a 17-year-old to undergo military training.

“We were there to be trained as soldiers and the other (things) we had nothing to do with,” he told the paper.

The alleged war crimes took place between 1942 and 1943.

Zuroff said there was “certainly enough evidence to warrant an investigation.”

People like Rasmussen “are the last people on earth who should have any sympathy, because they had absolutely no sympathy for their victims, some of whom were older than they are today,” he said.

Around 6,000 Danish Nazis volunteered for the Free Corps Denmark during the German occupation between April 1940 and May 1945.

Up to 1,000 Danes served in Bobruisk, where at least 1,400 Jews were killed, according to a book released in October last year by Danish historians Dennis Larsen and Therkel Straede.

A German court last week sentenced a former Nazi SS officer known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” to four years in jail, in what was expected to be one of the last Holocaust trials.

Oskar Groening, 94, was convicted by a court in the northern German city of Lueneburg of accessory to murder in 300,000 cases of Hungarian Jews sent to the gas chambers from May to July 1944.

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