Russian investigators resume probe into Nazi death squad's WWII atrocities

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Representative image
Representative image

Moscow [Russia], December 18 (ANI/Sputnik): Russia's prosecution office for the Kuban region announced on Friday that it was resuming, after a 48-year suspension, the probe into Nazi Sonderkommando's massacres of civilians, committed in the region during World War II, in which former Schutzstaffel (SS) interpreter Helmut Oberlander could be involved.

"Upon an initiative of the prosecutor general's office, the order to suspend the preliminary investigation into the criminal case over mass murders of Soviet citizens by members of Hitler's punitive body Sonderkommando SS-10A was revoked," the regional prosecutors said in a press release.

The previous probe, conducted by the Soviet Committee for State Security, established that members of this death squad conducted mass executions of civilians in mobile gas chambers in the period between 1941 and 1943 in the Krasnodar region and the Rostov region, located in the broader region of Kuban.

Back in the Soviet times, materials related to the crimes were submitted to the German side, and some malefactors, including Sonderkommando chief Kurt Christmann, were sentenced. However, a criminal probe against three members of the Sonderkommando was closed. Therefore, in 1972, the Soviet Union suspended the investigation "due to failure to identify other persons involved in the atrocities."

The decision to resume the probe is due to the fact that the fate one of the seven interpreters who fled the Soviet Union (Helmut Oberlander) was established.

"Apart from that, we have received information about some other individuals' involved in the crimes under investigation. However, a legal assessment of their actions is yet to be made," the Russian prosecutors added.

Oberlander, aged 96, was recently stripped of Canadian citizenship for failing to disclose information about his service for the Nazi death squad. According to Russian investigators, Oberlanmder is complicit in the WWII shooting of 27,000 people in the Rostov region alone. (ANI/Sputnik)