I have always been of the opinion that if you do something wrong, you must be punished for it. only would you send this man to prison for life:
His name is Heinrich Boere and he was a member of the SS during the war. He has recently been found guilty of three murders in 1944. He was initially sentenced to death in 1949, albeit the trial occurred without him present. In the 1980’s, a German court ruled this to be an illegal trial as he wasn’t present. Lots of legal wrangling later, he’s finally been tried and found guilty.
He claims that he had no choice but to kill the 3 men (one a bicycle seller, one who helped Jews go into hiding and one a resistance fighter), or be shot himself by his Nazi superiors. The court did not buy this and he was found guilty.
When I first saw his picture, for a moment I felt sorry for him. An 88-year-old man being dragged through legal proceedings for something that happened over 65 years ago. He looks like someone’s kindly old granddad.
But then I remembered. I remembered every school history lesson. I remembered everything I learned about fascism and Nazism. I remembered every stupid, insane comments made by 1001 different racist b*****ds. I remembered every story I had ever heard about the treatment of people by the SS. I remembered learning about the Nazi war machine trampling Europe and it’s people, killing with little or no regard, invading, controlling, exterminating people like rats. How can I feel sorry for this man?
He claims he had no choice but to kill these men. Maybe so. I’m sure SS soldiers were not above the fanatical whims of their officers. But he DID have a choice about signing up for them in the first place. He DID have a choice about choosing to live his life according to Nazi belief’s.
He has been sentenced to Life In Prison for his crimes. It still remains unclear if he will serve his time, but I hope that he does. We have people on the run still for Nazi war crimes and also on the run for crimes during the Bosnian war. If we don’t punish these people, what message does that send to others? Time should be no factor where Justice is concerned.