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  1. ITV Report

Demjanjuk case prompts call for Auschwitz probe

Some 1.5 million people were killed at Auschwitz in occupied Poland between 1940 and 1945. Photo: Libor Sojka/Czech News Agency/Press Association Images

A decision to call for an investigation of 30 alleged former guards at Auschwitz was prompted by the case of Ukraine-born John Demjanjuk.

Demjanjuk was the first Nazi war criminal to be convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime or victim, but purely on the grounds he had served as death camp guard.

German justice officials have called for 30 former Nazi guards to face prosecution for their role in facilitating mass murder at the Auschwitz death camp during World War Two.

Watch our Special Correspondent Rageh Omaar's report on the story:

Prosecutors have investigated 50 former guards and decided to pursue 30 cases, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Justice Ministry said.

The accused ... are all former guards at the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and we take the view that this job - regardless of what they can be individually accused of - makes them guilty of complicity in murder

– CHIEF PROSECUTOR KURT SCHIRM

Demjanjuk died last year, aged 91, while appealing against a five-year jail sentence for complicity in the murder of more than 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp in Poland.

His case established that death camp guards could be convicted as accessories to murder, even where there was no specific evidence of atrocities against them.