A former Nazi soldier who was convicted of war crimes following the massacre of people in France during World War II has died. He never served time for the war crimes he was convicted of. Karl Muenter was 96 years old. He served as a sergeant with the 12th SS Panzer Division “Hitler Youth.”
He passed away last week in northwestern Germany. An official for the mayor’s office of the village confirms his passing.
Meet former Nazi soldier, Karl Muenter
It was on April 1st, 1944 when the SS Panzer Division fatally shot 86 men in northern France’s Ascq village. Rebels derailed a road line that was being used to shuttle German troops to Normandy. Karl’s division was being ordered to arrest the males in town. These victims ranged from teens to the elderly, and they were lined up and shot.
Karl was soon convicted in absentia of war crimes and receives the death penalty by a French court after the war. By the time he was actually tracked down in 2013 (by the great-grandson of one of his victims, no less) the statute of limitations on his conviction had already passed. He never actually did time nor did he actually go through with the sentence to death.
More cases against Karl
German prosecutors did open a new investigation against Karl but soon would shelve the case. They determined they could not charge Karl again for the same crime. However, earlier this year he was charged once again. He appeared in a broadcast television interview where he defended shooting those he killed in Ascq. He also disputes the facts of the Holocaust. Karl argues that he had not shot anyone personally and that the killings were justified because the prisoners had tried to escape.
“If I arrest the men, then I have the responsibility for them and if they run away, I have a right to shoot them,” he explains. In reference to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, Karl says, “We didn’t have that many Jews here at that time, that’s already been disproved.”
The television show on which Karl appeared, ARF, says that the former Nazi had close ties to neo-Nazi groups in recent years. He would talk to them about his experience in SS. After the interview, his case was still pending trial up until his recent death.