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During the Second World War, Schwammberger was a commander of various SS Arbeitslager (forced-labor camps) in the Kraków district (late August 1942 until spring 1944). From 1948 until 1987, Schwammberger lived in hiding in Argentina. Finally, in 1987 he was extradited to Germany; his capture cost the German state of Baden-Württemberg just under 500,000 Deutschmark.
At his trial, which lasted nearly a year, (1991 until 1992) Schwammberger denied being guilty of the crimes of which he was charged; he simply admitted that "Ghetto A" was taken to the Przemyśl camp. On May 18, 1992, he was condemned by the Stuttgart regional court (Landgericht) to life imprisonment, which he was to serve in Mannheim. He was found guilty of seven counts of murder and 32 counts of accessory to murder.
The court ruled that on Sept. 21, 1942, which was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Mr. Schwammberger sought out and killed a Jewish rabbi in Rozwadów, a crime that Judge Luippold called one of his "most despicable and reprehensible." In addition, the judge found that Mr. Schwammberger was an organizer of a mass execution in the Przemyśl camp on Sept. 2, 1943, in which at least 500 Jewish prisoners were shot by Gestapo soldiers.
In August 2002, the Mannheim regional court declined a parole request due to the unusual cruelty of his offences; he had been found guilty of carrying out arbitrary murders based on Ethnic hatred racial hatred against Jewish people.
His wife Käthe Schwammberger died in 2003 at the age of 87 in Argentina. Josef Schwammberger himself died in prison on December 3, 2004, aged 92.
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- Other sources
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