90 year old Nazi criminal sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany

Anthon Malloth, photo CTK

While in Prague Lubomir Strougal was celebrating his court victory this week, another case in Germany was drawing to a close. The appeal against the life-sentence for a 90-year-old Nazi war criminal, Anthon Malloth was rejected by the German Supreme Court on Thursday. Malloth was one of the cruelest guards in the Terezin concentration camp north of Prague, and was widely known for his unscrupulous brutality and violent anti-Semitism. Alena Skodova reports:

Anthon Malloth, photo CTK
Anthon Malloth was sentenced last year to life imprisonment for the murder of a Jewish prisoner, whom he killed - as the German Supreme Court put it - out of a deep hatred towards the Jewish nation, and for the attempted murder of another Jewish prisoner. Malloth's lawyers appealed against the sentence saying that their client was seriously ill, and - as they put it, waiting for death. This has now been rejected by the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.

Malloth was an SS officer in Terezin's Small Fortress, and was one of the most brutal. Nicknamed "handsome Toni" and a butcher by profession, Malloth is said to have always had a perfect haircut, made-up face and gloves.

He escaped justice for many years, staying in Austria, Italy and finally in Germany, where an organization caring for former Nazis, called Stille Hilfe, took care of the old man. Malloth's case was one of the last trials of Nazi war criminals. I asked Tomas Kraus from the Czech Jewish Community for his impressions:

"Actually it did not come as a surprise, we were expecting this kind of verdict, we can only comment on what we said in the past already - we think that although this man is now an elderly person in his 90s, the verdict is expressing that the justice can be met and must be met. As Simon Wiesenthal said, it is not a revenge, it is justice. If somebody commits a crime, he or she should be sentenced at any age, it concerns young as well as elderly people - justice does not distinguish age. But for us it's also a precedent, it's a precedent where we are many times stressing that what happened during the holocaust, is a lecture for the humankind, it's not only a Jewish issue, because we have the experience, we have to alert people what people can do to each other."

And why do you think the justice came so late?

"Well, this is a geo-political situation. If you think about the compensation for holocaust survivors, it also came late. It came after 50 years of divided Europe behind the iron curtain and it was impossible to do things which would normally, if the world would not have been divided after 1945 respectively in the 1950s, this may have been done a decade or maybe two decades after the war."