• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Denmark to take Nazi case ‘very seriously’

The Local · 21 Jul 2015, 17:08

Published: 21 Jul 2015 17:08 GMT+02:00

As expected, the well-known Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Center formally filed a police complaint against 90-year-old Helmuth Leif Rasmussen on Tuesday. 
 
Zuroff told Danish media over the weekend that he felt compelled to fly to Denmark and personally file a complaint “since the Danish Justice Ministry isn’t going to do anything”. 
 
 
The public prosecutor for serious economic and international crime (Statsadvokaten for Særlig Økonomisk og International Kriminalitet - SØIK) said that the complaint would be investigated. 
 
“This is a case that we take very seriously and we will study the report very closely,” prosecutor Morten Niels Jakobsen told news agency Ritzau. 
 
Zuroff came to Denmark to file a complaint against Rasmussen, a former member of the 800-man corps of Danish Nazis known as Free Corps Denmark (Frikorps Danmark), after a book released in October shed new light on the Free Corps’ actions in a prison camp in Belarus during World War II. According the the historians behind the book, Danish Nazis actively participated in the murder of 1,400 Jews at the camp.
 
 
Rasmussen has previously spoken about his time as a member of Free Corps Denmark but denied having been a guard at the Belarus prison camp. However, in 1945, the then 20-year-old Rasmussen was questioned by police and admitted to having seen Jews executed while in the camp.
 
He told Berlingske on Saturday that he was “so old now” and had no reason to lie. 
 
Zuroff told reporters on Tuesday that Rasmussen’s advanced age doesn’t matter. 
 
“These are the last people on earth who deserve any sympathy because they had absolutely no sympathy for their victims,” he said. 
 
Story continues below…
“There is certainly enough evidence to warrant an investigation and I don’t see any reason why that investigation shouldn’t be started here by the Danish authorities. Unfortunately the Justice Ministry chose not to deal with this, so therefore I have come to Copenhagen to submit the complaint myself,” Zuroff added. 
 
Zuroff, who serves as the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, said “it will be a victory” if Rasmussen is convicted.
 
Prosecutor Jakobsen said that SØIK would first determine if any additional information is needed and then would evaluate the merits of a criminal prosecution. He added that Rasmussen was given a prison sentence shortly after the war and that may impact the current case. 
 
“We need to investigate what he was punished for. Clearly one cannot be penalized twice for the same thing,” Jakobsen told Ritzau. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Roskilde Festival 2016
From Russia with love: Snowden addresses Roskilde
Snowden's broadcast address was watched by a large and enthusiastic crowd. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

Broadcast live from Moscow, whistleblower Edward Snowden was greeted like a rock star by the festival crowd.

Roskilde Festival 2016
The Local's not-quite-live Roskilde 2016 blog
The Sunday night party at Ghettoblaster. Photo: Bobby Anwar

We'll be on hand all week as a field in Roskilde is temporarily turned in to the fourth largest city in Denmark.

Cage eggs soon to be a thing of the past in Denmark
Cage eggs are laid by hens that never see the light of day. Photo: Vi Ælsker Æg

Denmark’s largest retail company will stop selling eggs laid by cage chickens.

Brexit gives Danes new record cheap home loans
Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

With Brexit having created instability on the global financial markets, there has never been a better time to take out a home loan in Denmark.

Roskilde Festival 2016
Finding 'the Orange Feeling' in Roskilde's campgrounds
The camping grounds provide a good mix of planned as well and spontaneous parties. Photo: Bobby Anwar

The main music might not start until Wednesday, but for many guests the campground pre-parties are what Roskilde is all about.

Danish health agency plans for a smoke-free Denmark

Health authorities recommend higher tobacco prices, plain packaging and a national strategy for phasing out smoking.

Danes want legal cannabis, but govt vows crackdown
Police have torn down Pusher Street cannabis stalls three times since June 17th. Each time, they are rebuilt. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix

A majority of Danes support legalizing cannabis at the same time the government is preparing new hardline initatives.

Danish 'devil of death' nurse gets life for killing patients
Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix

A Danish nurse, dubbed a "devil of death" by prosecutors, was on Friday sentenced to life in prison for murdering three patients and trying to kill a fourth.

Brexit
Brits in Denmark left shocked and concerned by Brexit
British expats in Denmark were left feeling like these supporters of the 'Stronger In' campaign who watched the referendum result in London early on Friday. Photo: Rob Stothard/AFP/Scanpix

The Local spoke with a handful of British expats living in Denmark on Friday and not a single one was happy about the referendum result.

Roskilde Festival 2016
8 key questions ahead of this year’s Roskilde Festival
It's that time again! Roskilde begins on Saturday. Photo: Tobias Nicolai/Roskilde Festival

Denmark's biggest party is about to kick off – here's what we'll be keeping our eyes on as The Local once again heads to Roskilde.

Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
2,265
jobs available