Prosecutor drops probe into Danish Nazi camp guard

A 91-year-old Danish man who allegedly worked as a guard in a Belarus concentration camp during World War II will not face any charges, a Danish prosecutor said on Friday.

Prosecutor drops probe into Danish Nazi camp guard
Volunteers from the volunteer Frikorps Danmark SS division pledge allegiance in 1941. Photo: Bundesarkiv
A top Nazi hunter from the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Efraim Zuroff, travelled to Denmark in July last year to file a police complaint against Helmuth Leif Rasmussen, over war crimes alleged to have taken place between 1942 and 1943.
“Information has not emerged during the investigation to support the complaint we received from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre,” chief prosecutor Steen Bechmann Jacobsen told AFP.
A Danish book released in 2014 claimed Rasmussen worked as a guard in the Bobruisk camp in Nazi-occupied Belarus, citing a police report from 1945.    
“We have worked closely with two historians, one of whom is the author of the book,” Jacobsen said, adding that the book itself did not prove that Rasmussen had “committed concrete crimes or that he was complicit in any.”
Rasmussen, who has since changed his name and now lives in the Copenhagen area, has admitted to being part of a volunteer unit created by the Danish Nazi Party, but has claimed that he only went to Bobruisk as a 17-year-old to undergo military training.
Another Danish man at the camp, who was now a Swedish citizen, had also been investigated but would not be prosecuted, Jacobsen said.    
Around 6,000 Danish Nazis volunteered for the Free Corps Denmark during the German occupation between April 1940 and May 1945.
Up to 1,000 Danes served in Bobruisk, where at least 1,400 Jews were killed, according to the book released in 2014 by Danish historians Dennis Larsen and Therkel Straede.


Al Pacino pulls out of ‘Nazi’ play in Denmark

American acting legend Al Pacino has pulled out of a Danish stage adaptation of ’Hunger’ because of the Norwegian author’s enthusiasm for Nazi Germany.

Al Pacino pulls out of 'Nazi' play in Denmark
Al Pacino will not be coming to Copenhagen as planned. Photo: Colourbox
Oscar winner Al Pacino, best known for playing Michael Corleone in The Godfather films and Tony Montana in Scarface, had signed up to be the narrator in the play ‘Hunger’, which was scheduled to premier at the Bergen International Festival in May 2017. 
It would then go on to play at Copenhagen’s Aveny-T theatre and at Aarhus Theatre. 
The play is based on the dark psychological novel by Norway’s Knut Hamsun, but Pacino pulled out of the project at the last minute because of Hamsun’s enthusiastic support for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany
“It is correct, he jumped at the last moment because he couldn’t come to terms with Knut Hamsun's support for the German occupiers and Nazism. We must respect that,” Jon Stephensen, Aveny-T’s manager, told BT. 
Hamsun was a pioneer of psychological literature, and was an influence on writers as diverse as Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway. 
However, during the Germany occupation of Norway, when he was 80 years old, he became a firm supporter of the German war-effort, getting to know many of the highest ranking Germany officers, including Joseph Goebbels. 
After Hitler’s death he published an obituary in which he described the German leader as “a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations”. 
Aveny-T aimed to film Pacino over a day and then use 3D animation to project him onto the stage. 
“It would have been really been great if it had succeeded,” Stephensen said. “I have several times in the process thought that I was dreaming. It would have been massive if he had come to Copenhagen.”
Stephensen held out hope that the project would still go on without Pacino’s involvement.