October 28, 2009 / 12:34 PM / 10 years ago

German trial of former SS member starts in Aachen

AACHEN, Germany (Reuters) - The trial of 88-year-old former SS soldier Heinrich Boere, who has confessed to killing three Dutch civilians during World War Two, was adjourned shortly after opening on Wednesday, a German court said.

It will continue next Monday, said Georg Winkel, spokesman for the court of the western city of Aachen.

He did not know if Boere would plead guilty to charges of three murders and he had not done so yet before a German court.

Boere was captured by U.S. forces in the Netherlands after the war and confessed to killing the Dutch civilians while a member of an SS death squad which hunted anti-Nazi resistance fighters.

Boere, on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of top ten World War Two criminals, escaped and fled to Germany before being sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands in 1949.

After refusing a 1980 Dutch extradition request, a German court indicted him in 2008. In January the case nearly collapsed after a court said he was unfit for trial, due mainly to a heart condition. The ruling was overturned by an appeal court.

Winkel said Boere would undergo a medical examination every day of the court proceedings.

Reporting by Erol Dogrudogan; writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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