BERLIN – Klaas Carel Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted of Nazi war crimes has died. He was 90. Faber was convicted of murdering Jews in the Westerbrook concentration camp, a transit camp for Dutch Jews being transported to Auschwitz. He was also convicted of being part of an SS assassination squad that targeted members of the Dutch resistance. He was sentenced to death in 1947, but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Faber escaped from a Dutch prison in 1954 and fled to Germany where he lived in freedom despite several attempts by the Netherlands to extradite him.
This case of Kaas Carel Faber is an absolute disgrace. The only reason Faber was considered a German citizen, and therefore able to avoid extradition, is because German courts in the 1950's relied on Hitler's Nazi-era decree granting citizenship to non-German SS members IF they were sufficiently Aryan. A Bavarian court actually held a hearing to determine whether he was sufficiently Aryan to be granted citizenship. This is in spite of the fact that Nazi-era laws were declared invalid by both the allied occupying government and by the West German Federal Constitution. Faber's case was largely forgotten until 2003 when Dutch reporter Arnold Karskens discovered his whereabouts and sparked renewed interest in his case. Karskens' advocacy on behalf of Faber's surviving victims led to pressure on the Dutch government to renew their requests for his extradition. I never understood why the victims - who had standing under European law - didn't take Germany's failure to extradite Faber to the European Court.
To be fair, Germany is a Federal system with a weak central Federal government on domestic affairs. Each of the individual republics control their own domestic affairs including their justice systems. Nevertheless, since Faber's case involved a request for extradition under an EU warrant - and therefore involved International issues - the central Federal government could have acted if they wanted to by ordering Federal police to take Faber into custody. Some German republics have been better than others in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Bavaria, the German republic where Faber lived has an abysmal record of prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Not coincidently, it is the Republic which includes Munch and was Hitler's birth place. As a whole, the German record on prosecuting war criminals, particularly in the 50's and 60's was very bad. The punishments meted out to those who were prosecuted and convicted were extremely light. The US Government put the brakes on the denazification of West Germany in the 50's because they were afraid German resentment would cause the Addenaur government to fall, leading to Germany becoming a part of the Soviet bloc. People think there was justice at Nuremberg when in fact the vast majority of Nazi war criminals were reintegrated into German society and lived out their lives without ever being punished for their horrific crimes.