BERLIN (JTA) — A judge in Germany has barred two Jewish brothers from Boulder, Colorado, from being co-plaintiffs in an accessory to murder trial against 96-year-old former Auschwitz SS medic Hubert Zafke.
Chief Judge Klaus Kabisch in the Neubrandenburg state court explained on Tuesday that brothers Walter and William Plywaski – themselves Auschwitz survivors – could not join the trial because the date of their parents’ death at the camp falls just outside the time frame of the indictment – a one-month period in 1944.
Meanwhile, the trial has been delayed over concerns about the mental and physical health of the defendant.
Zafke faces charges of accessory to the murder of 3,681 people. In his capacity as a medic, he reportedly witnessed arriving prisoners being sent to die in the camp’s gas chambers.
Germany’s Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg made a major push to identify former death camp guards after the conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 for his role in the murders of nearly 30,000 Jews in the Sobibor death camp in Poland.