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Ex-US resident faces Nazi inquiry

BERLIN — A 93-year-old man who acknowledged he served with the SS in the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp but contends he was only a cook is under investigation by German authorities as a possible accessory to murder, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Hans Lipschis was deported from the United States in 1983 for lying about his Nazi past when he immigrated to Chicago in the 1950s after the war.

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With no evidence linking him to specific war crimes, however, it was impossible under previous German law to bring charges against him, said Thomas Will, a prosecutor with the German office dealing with Nazi war crimes.

But now the Lipschis case is being pursued on the same legal theory used to prosecute former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died last year while appealing his 2011 conviction in Germany for accessory to murder on the grounds that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

Under the new line of thinking, even without proof of participation in a specific crime, a person who served at a death camp can be charged with accessory to murder because the camp’s sole function was to kill people.

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