By Brendan Hahne
Edited for online by Rebecca Oakley
A 93-year-old man said to be a former guard at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz has been arrested in Germany and faces charges of complicity in mass murders.
The man charged allegedly worked at the death camp between 1941 and 1945.
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the man though media reports said it was Hans Lipschis, listed as the world’s fourth most wanted Nazi.
Lipschis has admitted he was assigned to the SS Guard at Auschwitz but denies involvement in any war crimes and said he only served as a cook.
The arrest has been met by mixed feelings from the Australian Jewish community.
Jewish Holocaust Centre Melbourne executive director Warren Fineberg said he had spoken to Holocaust victims about the arrest.
“They said that if there’s any guilt there, they have no problem with him being prosecuted for his crime,” he said.
Mr Fineberg said many victims felt there was a need for compassion.
“Because of his advanced age…they said that the punishment should fit the crime but it should be sympathetic to his age and it’s up to the courts to make that decision,” he said.
The arrest comes as a 38-year-old woman faces trial in Germany accused of being at the heart of a series of Neo-Nazi attacks.
Mr Fineberg said attacks like these alarmed Holocaust survivors.
“[For] the Holocaust survivors who lived through the Holocaust and seen what it has done to deprave humanity…it’s something that is frightening,” he said.
Associate professor in history at the University of Queensland Andrew Bonnell said there remains some anti-Semetic sentiment in Germany.
“Whenever you see a synagogue or Jewish community centre or Jewish cultural institution, they’re still guarded around the clock by armed police,” he said.
Professor Bonnell said while Neo-Nazi violence exists overseas, it remains uncommon in Australia.
“We have various far right, anti-immigrant groups,” he said.
“But the quickest way for them to make themselves politically irelevant in Australia is to start espousing Nazi ideas and wearing swastikas.”