After latest sentence, Germans eager for Nazi trials' end
Former officer Josef Scheungraber will face life in prison, a court ruled Tuesday. The next trial, of John Demjanjuk, may be the last for Nazi crimes in Germany.
When Germany hosted and placed third in the World Cup three years ago, fans draped themselves in the German flag, waved the flag from cars, and unfurled it from living room windows. Sixty-four years after the end of World War II, it finally felt acceptable to be German again.
In one of the last Nazi trials to take place, a German court Tuesday sentenced Josef Scheungraber to life in prison. He was convicted of ordering the murder of 10 Italian civilians while serving as a Nazi officer in Tuscany, a revenge crime for the murder of two German troops in June 1944. Gino Massetti, who survived the massacre as a boy, testified at the trial.
Now, the final chapter of living Nazi history is being written. The last trial in Germany for alleged Nazi crimes is expected to begin in October for John Demjanjuk, who was deported from the United States in May to face charges he was a guard at the notorious Treblinka concentration camp. He is alleged to have helped operate its gas chamber.
For many Germans, the trials can't be finished soon enough.
"We hear about the trial every day on TV, we read about it every day in the newspaper, politicians make sure it is as the top of the agenda," says Ursula Weber-Kelke, a retired schoolteacher from Darmstadt. "We are fatigued from the constant attention to it. It never stops.