On Tuesday, 03 April 2001, a German court found former
S.S. 2nd Lt.
Julius Viel guilty of the mass murder of seven unarmed civilians.
(See: Associated Press wire story, below.)
For me, the guilty verdict announced by the Ravensburg court
the end of my involvement in a four year effort to see Viel brought
to justice. (See: Jerusalem Post story, below, and other stories
posted on Pallorium's website.) As a result of my involvement
investigation of Viel, new friends - and new enemies - appeared
unexpected places. Once the conviction of Viel was announced,
sleazy opportunists rushing to Ravensburg to falsely claim credit
Viel's successful prosecution surprised even me.
This note is to thank all of you who fall into the "friends"
category, and especially those of you who helped with the
investigation and prosecution of Viel and who deserve much of
credit for his conviction. It's rare that an Investigator can
seven "cold" murder cases at one time, and those of
you that helped
with this investigation can share in the great moral and legal
victory announced in Ravensburg last Tuesday.
My thanks to Investigators and Special Agents Kelly R., Rolf
S., Jean P. and David C., and the author K. F., who helped with
investigation and/or agreed to be interrogated by German reporters.
Thanks also to the NAIS's Barbara and Ralph T. (They know why.)
thanks also to the journalists J.T., S.S., A.F. - and even E.F.
helped keep this case in the public eye. Without their help,
case might have never been prosecuted. My special thanks to my
colleagues and partners-in-crime, Investigators Joe S., Allon
Jan T., who worked tirelessly on this investigation, and helped
resolve countless small and large issues. I am a lucky person
To "L.", the key witness against Viel, I can only
say once again how
much I admire your courage, honor and integrity.
I am also especially grateful to those of you who assisted
efforts to balance running an Investigative Agency alongside
processing pro bono cases, and those of you who were understanding
during those times when I "dropped off the radar screen".
around, and reachable, quite a bit more from now on. Hopefully,
will consider that to be a positive development.
We are in the process of closing fourteen (14) final war crimes
investigations - one in Germany, three in Canada and eleven in
U.S. - and I hope that by the end of this year we will have more
successes to report.
Happy Passover and Happy Easter to everyone,
Former Nazi Sentenced to 12 Years
By OLIVER SCHMALE
The Associated Press
RAVENSBURG, Germany (AP) - One of Germany's last Nazi suspects,
former Nazi SS commander, was convicted Tuesday of killing seven
Jewish prisoners during World War II and sentenced to 12 years
Julius Viel, a retired journalist, acted ``out of lust for
base motives,'' presiding Judge Hermann Winkler said in announcing
the sentence. ``There was no order.''
``We owe it to the victims to compensate for the wrong,''
said, as Viel sat impassively with about 100 onlookers crowded
Viel was put on trial four decades after German authorities
investigated the case and dropped it. The case was revived when
former subordinate provided new evidence.
Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, saying Viel shot the
from the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Nazi-occupied
Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1945, when he was a second lieutenant
in the SS. Viel had bitterly contested the charges during his
The seven inmates, imprisoned by the Gestapo, were forced
to dig a
tank trap as defense against advancing Soviet forces. Viel confirmed
that he helped oversee the work, but testified he was not in
when the killings took place.
In his ruling, Winkler spoke of the ``terrible conditions''
which the prisoners were forced to dig, using their hands and
crockery. Some 180 prisoners died, he said.
In 1964, prosecutors had dropped an investigation of Viel
killings because of lack of evidence. Only in 1998 did the former
subordinate's testimony set in motion the reopening of the case
Viel's arrest in the southern town of Wangen in October 1999.
Adalbert Lallier, a one-time Nazi officer trainee and now
economics professor in Canada, testified he was standing guard
Viel seized a rifle and shot the victims in cold blood.
Officials say Viel attempted suicide shortly after being jailed.
the trial opened Dec. 4, he described Lallier's accusations as
Lallier said he had stayed silent for so long out of loyalty
fellow soldiers, but was persuaded to speak out by another former
Viel's defense attorney, Ingo Pfliegner, said he would appeal
Tuesday's verdict, citing contradictory evidence. Pfliegner had
argued that Lallier is trying to wipe clean his own Nazi past
his accusations against Viel.
Still pending in Germany is a case against a former SS guard
Theresienstadt. Anton Malloth, 88, is under investigation for
killings of Jewish prisoners between 1943 and 1945. Malloth has
in custody since last May, awaiting trial.
The SS was the dreaded quasi-military unit of the Nazi party,
was used as a special police force and committed some of the
crimes in territory under Nazi control during World War II. More
6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The Ravensburg court cited the long interval between the crimes
the trial in imposing a sentence short of the life imprisonment
sought by prosecutors.
But, Winkler insisted, ``every perpetrator should know that
he can be
brought to account a long time later.''
"Canadian Fingers German For Murder"
The Jerusalem Post
November 29, 1999
A Canadian professor who had long hidden his past as a member
SS, and a private investigator who convinced him to testify against
his former commander, were the key players in opening hearings
what could become the last Holocaust related murder trial held
Officials close to the case, however, fear that accused Nazi
criminal Julius Viel may never face justice unless additional
witnesses in the case come forward during the next few months.
was also the appraisal of private investigator Steven Rambam,
Nazi hunter who was responsible for 'turning' a former SS inductee,
"L", and bringing him to testify before a German judge.
lead directly to Viel's arrest last month for the murder of seven
Jewish inmates at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in
Czechoslovakia. Viel allegedly shot the seven during March, 1945,
while they were engaged in forced labor digging anti-tank trenches
near the town of Tereizn.
Sources report that German television's "Report Mainz"
the murdered Jews as Ladislav Kras (born: 2.9.17), Wilhelm
Kaufmann(born: 9.9.15), Viktor Schulz (born: 1.7.02), Viktor
Stern(born: 18.9.11), Josua Baruch(born: 25.11.21), Vlastimil
(born: 15.12.96) and Robert Friedmann (born: 5.11.99).
This is not the first time that Viel, now 81, has been accused
crimes. He had been tried in Germany in 1964, but charges were
dismissed when a key witness died shortly before the trial.
Suspicions about his murderous past did not stop Viel from becoming
successful journalist for the 'Stuttgarter Zeitung'. Veil's
security began to unravel when an octogenarian former SS officer,
"L", now a college professor in Montreal, came forward
out of a deep
sense of guilt, fully aware that he might be jeopardizing his
status in Canada by admitting to the deportable offense of having
served in the Nazi SS. The professor was shaken out of his long
silence in 1997, following the massive publicity surrounding
exposure of Nazi War criminals living in Canada (first reported
the Jerusalem Post in December, 1996).
When Rambam and "L" met, the elderly professor was
eager to admit
that he was a former SS officer with a story to tell. The former
man turned professor detailed how his former commanding officer
picked up a rifle and randomly shot "six or seven Jews"
as they were
digging an anti-tank ditch on the plains of Leitmeritz, near
Tereisenstadt concentration camp.
Rambam found Viel, alive and well and a respected member of the
community in the German town of Wangen im Allgau.
Last month Rambam traveled to Germany to meet the German war
prosecutor and to confront Julius Viel. When Rambam confronted
regarding his activities at Theresienstadt, the suspected SS
commander denied any involvement. Yet, as he entered his car,
said, "They tried before and failed. They will fail again.".
Two days after confronting Viel, Rambam met with Kurt Schrimm,
war crimes prosecutor in Stuttgart. Viel was arrested and charged
is being held without bail. No trial date has been set. but due
Viel's advanced age, German prosecutors will try to schedule
trial within a few months.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Schrimm has already interviewed more
potential witnesses and has an additional 500 scheduled. He is
that he can produce an additional eyewitness, or survivor, who
corroborate all or part of L's story.
"If we don't find at least one more witness", says
Rambam, " Julius
Viel might walk away from the murders one last time."
P.O. Box 155 - Midwood Station
Brooklyn, New York 11230 USA
Telephone: (001) 212-969-0286
Electronic Mail: email@example.com