Accused Nazi war criminal ruled unfit for trial

(JTA) — A German court ruled that an accused Nazi war criminal is unfit to stand trial.

Hans Lipschis, 94, accused of being an SS guard at Auschwitz, suffers from dementia and will not understand what transpires at his trial, the court in Ellwangen in southwest German ruled on Friday, according to reports.

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The court has refused to open the trial. The chamber is of the opinion that the 94-year-old is incapable of standing trial. It bases this judgment on its own personal impression and the opinion of a psychiatrist,” the decision from the court said, Reuters reported.

Lipschis was released from custody in December, after the arrest warrant against him was cancelled, following a psychiatrist’s diagnosis of dementia.  Following his release he fell, was operated on and is now in a nursing home, the Associated Press reported.

Lipschis has said he was a cook in Auschwitz; prosecutors believe he was a guard. A native of Lithuania, he reportedly moved to Chicago in 1956. He was stripped of his American citizenship and deported in 1982 after U.S. immigration authorities determined that he had lied about his Nazi past in order to gain entry into the country.

His arrest in Germany in May, 2013 followed the release of information to German courts on about 50 former Auschwitz guards.

He had been number four on the Simon Wiesenthal Center list of most wanted Nazi criminals and was charged with being an accessory to 10,510 counts of murder.

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