Accused Nazi With Dementia Declared Unfit For Trial in Germany

Lipschis Was One of 10 Most Wanted Nazis

By JTA

Published December 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An accused Nazi war criminal has been released from custody after his arrest warrant was lifted due to his dementia.

But the court could still order a trial to take place.

Hans Lipschis, 94, from Aalen, had been held in the Hohenasperg prison hospital near Stuttgard since last May on charges of complicity in hundreds of murders as an alleged former SS guard at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

The arrest warrant against Lipschis was cancelled Friday due to a psychiatrist’s determination that he is suffering from the early stages of dementia and therefore might not sufficiently understand and respond to the charges against him, according to reports. The court must now decide if a trial should take place, reportedly depending on Lipschis’ state of health.

At the time of his arrest, Lipschis was called one of the ten most-wanted Nazis in a report by Zeit Online newspaper.

A native of Lithuania, he was allegedly a guard at Auschwitz from the autumn of 1941 until the Nazis abandoned the camp in January 1945. Lipschis reportedly belonged to the Totenkopf-Sturmbann, or Death’s Head Battalion, that guarded the camp; he later became a cook for SS troops at the camp. In April, Lipschis told the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag that he was in Auschwitz “as a cook, the whole time.”

He reportedly moved to Chicago in 1956 but was stripped of his American citizenship and deported from the United States in 1982 after U.S. immigration authorities determined he had lied about his Nazi past in order to gain entry into the country.

His arrest in Germany last spring was greeted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff as a positive step. It followed the release of information to German courts on about 50 former Auschwitz guards, a list compiled by Germany’s Central Office for Clarification of Nazi Crimes, with the aim of assisting in possible war crimes trials. All the suspects are around 90 years old.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.