Michael Seifert (SS guard)

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Michael Seifert (16 March 1924 – 6 November 2010) was an SS guard in Italy during World War II.

He was an ethnic German[1] born in Landau (present-day Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine). Dubbed the "Beast of Bolzano", he was convicted in absentia in 2000 by a military tribunal in Verona, Italy, on nine counts of murder, committed while he was an SS guard at the Bolzano Transit Camp, northern Italy.

He was sentenced to life in prison and extradited on 17 February 2008, from Canada to Italy. His crimes involved actions taken in a prison camp in Bolzano from 1944 to 1945. At his trial, witnesses accused him of leaving a prisoner to starve to death, raping and killing a pregnant woman, and gouging an inmate's eyes out.[2]

Avi Benlolo, president of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in Canada, noted that Seifert's imprisonment "sets an example for other war criminals, not only Nazi war criminals, but war criminals related to Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, or any other genocide, that there's no time limit to justice".[3]

After his extradition to Italy from Canada, Seifert was held in an Italian military prison in Santa Maria Capua Vetere. Prosecutors from Italy and Germany intended to interview him regarding other war crimes that may have taken place at Bolzano.[4]

He died in 2010 in Santa Maria after having been transferred to a hospital from the Capua Vetere prison.[5] He was buried in a cemetery near Caserta after his body went unclaimed by friends and relatives. [1]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Giorgio Mezzalira and Carlo Romeo (editors): "MISCHA" l'aguzzino del lager di Bolzano. Dalle carte al processo a Michael Seifert, Bolzano, Circolo Culturale ANPI, 2002. Review

References[edit]

  1. ^ USHMM.org
  2. ^ BBC report on Seifert
  3. ^ BBC report on Seifert, ibid.
  4. ^ O'Neil, Peter (2008-02-25). "Accused Nazi war criminal waits in cell with all 'necessary conveniences'". Times Colonist (Victoria: Canwest). Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  5. ^ "BBC News - Nazi war criminal Michael Seifert dies in Italy". bbc.co.uk. November 6, 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 

External links[edit]