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Anton Tittjung

02.05.2012 ( Last modified: 01.06.2016 )
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facts

Anton Tittjung was born in Erdud, Yugoslavia (now part of Croatia) on 17 November 1924.

He joined the Waffen SS in October 1942 and served as an SS trooper until the end of World War II.

Tittjung was allegedly a member of the Totenkopf-Sturmbann (Death’s Head Battalion), where he operated as an armed guard at the Nazi-operated Mauthausen concentration camp and its sub-camp Gross Raming in occupied Austria.

Following the end of the War Tittjung applied for and obtained a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, without making a reference to his association with the concentration camps or his position within the Waffen SS.

Tittjung was naturalised in 1974 and became a citizen of the United States.

A federal judge in Milwaukee stripped him of his U.S. citizenship in December 1990 after ruling that he had lied about his employment at the Mauthausen concentration camp. In 1994 an immigration court ordered Tittjung to be deported to Croatia for the crime of persecution of concentration camp prisoners. Tittjung appealed on the grounds that he had received an unfair hearing, including being forbidden from introducing evidence pertaining to discrepancies in the account of events as told by a witness from the Mauthausen camp. The Supreme Court found that a fair hearing had taken place and allowed the deportation order to stand. However the Supreme Court declined to hear Tittjung’s final appeal in 2000 and he still lives in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

A lawsuit was filed in June 2008 with the National Court in Spain by Brussels-based Equipo Nizkor, acting on behalf of victims from the concentration camps of Flossenberg, Sachsenhausen, and Mauthausen, with assistance provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

 

legal procedure

A lawsuit was filed in June 2008 with the National Court in Spain by Brussels-based Equipo Nizkor, acting on behalf of victims from the concentration camps of Flossenberg, Sachsenhausen, and Mauthausen, with assistance provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.

Spain has a universal jurisdiction law on genocide cases, regardless of where the crimes were committed and no statute of limitations applies.

The lawsuit named Tittjung as a defendant, as well as John (Iwan) Demjanjuk, Josias Kumpf and Johann Leprich and claimed that the suspects served as prison guards within the concentration camps. 7,000 Spaniards were imprisoned at Mauthausen and over 4,000 of them were killed.

The lawsuit charged Tittjung with extermination and other acts constituting crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, torture and other inhumane acts.

The judge of the court stated on 18 July 2008 that the court would review the evidence in the suit. If the court decides to proceed, Tittjung and the other defendants could be extradited to Spain to stand trial.

 

context

After the Second World War numerous trials against war criminals and those responsible for Nazi crimes took place in Germany and other countries. It is not possible here to give an overview of all the trials. Below are the main facts concerning the major trials of war criminals at Nuremberg.

BASIS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on 7-8 May 1945. The Allies (USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France) took over all governmental functions in Germany, instituted the Allied Control Council and divided Germany into four zones of occupation.

After the adoption of the London Charter of 8 August 1945, the Allies set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in order to judge the major German war criminals. Annex III of the Agreement contains the Statute of the International Military Tribunal (IMT Statute [2]).

NUREMBERG TRIAL OF MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS

According to Articles 1-3 of the London Charter, war criminals with offenses having no particular geographical location were to be judged by the IMT. However in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the Convention, the principle of territoriality was to apply to the other German war criminals, with the courts of those states where crimes had been committed having the competence to try these criminals on the basis on their national laws.

Crimes within the jurisdiction of IMT:

– Crimes against peace;

– War crimes and

– Crimes against humanity (Article 6 of IMT Statute).

The IMT was composed of four judges and four substitutes who were appointed by the four Allied powers (Article 2 IMT Statute). In application of Article 13 of the IMT Statute, the Tribunal drew up its own Rules of Procedure

The IMT indicted 24 people in total. The trials took place from 14 November 1945 until 1 October 1946. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death, three were acquitted and seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. In one case, the procedure was suspended.

 

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