Søren Kam

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Søren Kam
Born (1921-11-02) 2 November 1921 (age 93)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank SS-Obersturmführer
Unit 5th SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking
Awards Close Combat Badge
Infantry Assault Badge
Iron Cross 2nd & 1st class
Wound Badge (silver)
Knight's Cross

Søren Kam (born 2 November 1921) is a Danish former Waffen-SS officer wanted for murder in Denmark and one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals.

Biography[edit]

Before the war[edit]

Kam was born in Copenhagen on 2 November 1921. He was a member of the youth faction of the DNSAP (NSU) where he was a close associate of Christian Frederik von Schalburg, one of his socalled "blood boys".[1]

World War II[edit]

Kam volunteered with the SS in June 1940 and served with the 5.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking on the Eastern Front.[2] He was sent to the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer.[2] The September 1943 issue of De frie Danske proclaimed Kam and Flemming Helweg-Larsen as Schalburg-bandits and the murderers of newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen.[3] The June 1944 issue proceeded to denounce a named woman as a nazi with her nazi-friends including Carl Henrik Clemmensen's murderers, namely Flemming Helweg-Larsen and Søren Kam.[4] On 15 February 1945 the newspaper Politiken brought an official statement from Berlin via Reuters that on 7 February Adolf Hitler had awarded Kam, company commander of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Germania", the Knight's Cross for "especially decisive action in the battle against the enemy" making Kam the third Dane to receive this award. The statement proceeded to mention that Kam had been wounded in battle several times and for battlefield bravery been awarded the Iron Cross Second and First Class, the Infantry Assault Badge, Close Combat Clasp and the silver Wound Badge and that he had seen combat in the battles of Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Kovel og Warsaw.[2]

Summary of SS career[edit]

Dates of rank[edit]
Notable decorations[edit]

After the war[edit]

While in 1946 the Danish authorities presumed Kam to be dead they executed Helweg-Larsen for his part in the murder of Clemmensen. According to the evidence presented in the trial, Clemmensen had been killed using three different revolvers firing eight bullets all impacting him while he was standing. A third accomplice in the murder the SS-man Jørgen Valdemar Bitsch managed to escape the Frøslev Prison Camp where he was held after the liberation and his whereabouts remain unknown.[1]

In 1956 Kam lived in West Germany under the name Peter Müller as stateless and he was therefore at risk of being extradited to Denmark on a murder charge.[1] The same year Kam applied for and obtained West German citizenship.[1] In 1968 the public prosecutor in Munich investigated the murder. Kam admitted to have fired at Clemmensen but only as an "act of solidarity" after Helweg-Larsen had shot and killed Clemmensen who was lying dead on the ground. The case against Kam was dropped in 1971 on the principle of in dubio pro reo.[1]

In 1985 Minister of Justice of Denmark Erik Ninn-Hansen confirmed that there is still a warrant for the arrest of Kam.[1] The statement formed part of a response to a question from member of parliament Jørgen Lenger, who has been informed via telephone by Kam personally that Kam has visited his family in Denmark several times.[1] In 1986 Kam and the two other Danish bearers of the Knight's Cross posed for a photograph together with Christian Frederik von Schalburg's widow Helga Schalburg in Ulrichsberg in the Austrian state Kärnten.[1]

In 1998 Kam was interrogated again because his explanation that he shot Clemmensen as he was lying dead on the ground is contradicted by the autopsy report which shows that Clemmensen received all eight shots while standing. Kam changed his explanation and stated that although unarmed Clemmensen attacked Kam and his two associates who thus fired the eight shots in self-defence.[1] In 1999 Danish Minister of Justice Frank Jensen requested an extradition of Kam. This was refused by Germany.[5] This request was later repeated by Jensen's successor Lene Espersen.

In 2004 a grandson of Clemmensen, Søren Fauli, produced the documentary Min morfars morder (My grandfather's murderer) in which he himself interviewed Kam.[6] During the interview Fauli forgives Kam, but asks him to admit his guilt. The documentary was aired on Danish television in 2004 and 2005. On 21 September 2006 Kam was detained in Kempten, Bavaria in accordance with a European arrest warrant issued by Denmark. On 4 February 2007 Germany denied his extradition to Denmark, after a German court claimed that the killing of Clemmensen was not murder but manslaughter, thus falling under the statute of limitations, which had expired.[7] Kam has stated that he admits having taken part in the abduction and killing of Clemmensen, but that he considers the case to be under the statute of limitations and the killing an accident.[8]

In February 2008 BBC World Service presented a radio program titled The Danish Nazi.[9] The reporter was able to contact Kam, giving the only recorded interview with him, including a statement by Kam in which he says in English, "I am a good man, I never did anything wrong." According to the Daily Telegraph, while in Germany, Kam "has regularly attended veterans' rallies of SS men. He has also been closely associated with Heinrich Himmler's daughter Gudrun Burwitz and her network Stille Hilfe (Silent Aid), set up to support arrested, condemned or fugitive former SS men."[7] As of 1 April 2014 he is number five on Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Høgh-Sørensen, Erik (2013). Drabet på Clemmensen og historien om Søren Kam [The murder of Clemmensen and the story of Søren Kam] (in Danish) (2. revised (after Dansk Dødspatrulje) ed.). People's Press. 223 pages. ISBN 978-87-7137-540-4. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ridderkorset til SS-Obersturmführer Søren Kam" [Knight's Cross for SS-Obersturmführer Søren Kam]. Politiken (in Danish). 15 February 1945. 
  3. ^ "Fra DE FRIE DANSKEs Løbesedler gentager vi" [From the flyers of the free Danes we repeat]. De frie Danske (in Danish). 23 September 1943. p. 2. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Redaktør C.H. Clemmensen blev myrdet af Schalburg-Banditterne Flemming Helweg-Larsen og Søren Kam 
  4. ^ "Fra den BLAA BOG" [From the Blue Book]. De frie Danske (in Danish). 11 June 1944. p. 12. Retrieved 21 November 2014. Blandt hendes Nazi-Venner er Carl Henrik Clemmensens Mordere, nemlig Flemming Helweg-Larsen og Søren Kam 
  5. ^ http://ekstrabladet.dk/112/article268145.ece[dead link]
  6. ^ Min morfars morder at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ a b "Most Wanted Nazis", Bridget Johnson, About.com
  8. ^ http://www.jp.dk/indland/artikel:aid=4225288:fid=11894/[dead link]
  9. ^ "The Danish Nazi". BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Simon Wiesenthal Center 2014 Annual Report on the Status of Nazi War Criminals (PDF). Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center. 2014. 

External links[edit]