2 November 1921|
|Died||23 March 2015
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Unit||5th SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking|
|Awards||Close Combat Badge
Infantry Assault Badge
Iron Cross 2nd & 1st class
Wound Badge (silver)
Søren Kam (2 November 1921 – 23 March 2015) was a Danish former Waffen-SS officer wanted for murder in Denmark and listed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals.
Kam was born on 2 November 1921 in Copenhagen, Denmark as the second of six children to agent Rasmus Hansen Kam (b. 1891 in Aunslev, Funen) and wife Inger née Hermansen (b. 1897 in Copenhagen). With both parents members of the Church of Denmark he was baptized the same year on the fourth Sunday of Advent in St. Paul's Church, Copenhagen.
Following the parent's marriage in 1919 the family lived in a fourth floor apartment at Sundholmsvej 57-III on Amager. Although the parents at the birth of his older brother was in contact with Frederiksberg's poor relief system they had already in 1921 when Kam was born a telephone.
The following year the family had a housekeeper living with them at the same address. By that time one of Kam's siblings had died leaving him with four brothers, one older and three younger ones.
In 1939 Kam was entered in the army levy roll for Copenhagen with the name Sören Kam.
Kam's family stayed in the villa after he moved out until his father sold it in 1947. The same year Kam's older brother delisted his phone number from the phone book and two years later his father did the same.
World War II
Kam volunteered with the SS in June 1940 and served with the 5.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking on the Eastern Front. He was transferred to SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer.
From the 1st of May to the 2nd of September 1943, Kam was heading the school at Høveltegaard responsible for the training of new members of the Schalburg Corps. The initial six week training had 50-70 recruits.
According to Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in August 1943 Kam participated as a Waffen-SS soldier in a robbery during which the birth records of the Jewish community in Denmark were stolen. He thereby ensured that the German file on Danish Jews was as complete as possible, in preparation for the attempt to arrest and deport them in October that year. Kam denied the allegation.
During the week before Saturday August 28, 1943 Kam participated in one such meeting with among others Best, who on the morning of that Saturday met with Erik Scavenius to make the demands that the following day led the Germans to officially dissolve the Danish government and institute martial law.
On the evening of 30 August 1943 or after midnight in Lundtofte, next to Lundtofte Airfield Søren Kam and two others killed newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen, who was struck while standing by eight bullets fired from three different pistols. Kam later gave different explanations for his participation, lastly that the three shot the unarmed newspaper editor in self-defense.
The September 1943 issue of De frie Danske proclaimed Kam and Flemming Helweg-Larsen as Schalburg-bandits and the murderers of Clemmensen. The June 1944 issue denounced a female member of the Nazi Party, along with Carl Henrik Clemmensen's murderers, namely Flemming Helweg-Larsen and Søren Kam.
On 15 February 1945 the newspaper Politiken brought an official statement from Berlin via Reuters that on 7 February Adolf Hitler had awarded Kam, a 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 and Warsaw.
Summary of SS career
Dates of rank
- SS-Sturmmann: 2 September 1941
- SS-Rottenführer: 30 November 1941
- SS-Unterscharführer: 20 April 1942
- SS-Junker: 1 May 1942
- SS-Standartenjunker: 1 September 1942
- SS-Standartenoberjunker: 20 December 1942
- SS-Untersturmführer: 30 January 1943
- SS-Obersturmführer: 7 February 1945
- Close Combat Clasp in Bronze (1944) and in Silver (1945)
- Infantry Assault Badge in Silver (?)
- Iron Cross Second (1941) and First (1944) Classes
- Wound Badge in Black (?) and Silver (1944)
- Knight's Cross (1945)
After the war
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 pistols firing eight bullets all impacting him while he was standing. A third accomplice in the murder the SS-man Jørgen Valdemar Bitsch was held in the Frøslev Prison Camp after the liberation, but managed to escape and his whereabouts remain unknown.
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. The same year Kam applied for and obtained West German citizenship. 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.
In 1985 Minister of Justice of Denmark Erik Ninn-Hansen confirmed that there was still a warrant for the arrest of Kam. The statement formed part of a response to a question from member of parliament Jørgen Lenger, who had been informed via telephone by Kam personally that Kam had visited his family in Denmark several times. 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.
In 1998 Kam was interrogated again because his explanation that he shot Clemmensen as he was lying dead on the ground was 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. In 1999 Danish Minister of Justice Frank Jensen requested an extradition of Kam. This was refused by Germany. 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. 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. Kam had 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.
In February 2008 BBC World Service presented a radio program titled The Danish Nazi. 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 London 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." As of 1 April 2014, he was number five on Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals. He died in 2015, aged 93.
Kam wrote his memoirs and had a middle man hand them over to head of research at the Royal Library, Denmark John T. Lauridsen and Danish historian Mikkel Kirkebæk, so they could publish them after his death. The 400 page book The memoirs of Søren Kam (Danish: Søren Kams erindringer) is prefaced and commented by Lauridsen and published in Danish from September 2015.
- "Fødte Mandkøn" [Born Males]. Kirkebog [Parish Register]. 1921-1934 (in Danish). Sankt Pauls Sogn. 1921. p. 16.
- "Fødte Mandkøn" [Born Males]. Kirkebog [Parish Register]. 1920-1923 (in Danish). Helligåndskirken. 1921. p. 62.
- "Todesanzeige" [Death notice]. all-in.de (in German). 2015-03-28. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- "Fødte Mandkøn" [Born Males]. Kirkebog [Parish Register]. 1891-1891 (in Danish). Avnslev. 1891. p. 2.
- Politiets Registerblade [Register cards of the Police] (in Danish). Copenhagen: Københavns Stadsarkiv. 15 June 1892. Station 7 (Østerbro). Filmrulle 0014. Registerblad 2981. ID 2196458.
- Folketælling [Census] (in Danish). 1930. Hans Bruunsvej 20, Gentofte.
- Folketælling [Census] (in Danish). Copenhagen. 1 February 1921. Sundholmsvej 57-III.
- "Ægteviede" [Married]. Kirkebog [Parish Register]. 1918-1937 (in Danish). Sankt Pauls Sogn. 1919. p. 30.
- Politiets Registerblade [Register cards of the Police] (in Danish). Copenhagen: Københavns Stadsarkiv. 1 May 1920. Station 4 (Amager). Filmrulle 0012. Registerblad 3799. ID 28403.
- "Fødte Mandkøn" [Born Males]. Kirkebog [Parish Register]. 1915-1924 (in Danish). Frederiksberg Sogn. 1919. p. 163.
Indført ifølge skr. af d. 10/3 20 fra Frederiksberg fattigv., da Forældrene ved Barnets Fødsel havde Bopæl og Domicil Frbg. 7-4 Haveh.
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1921. col. 645.
Kam Rasmus Repræs. Sundholmsvej 57 ... Sundby 29 24 x
- Folketælling [Census] (in Danish). Copenhagen. 5 November 1925. Skt. Kjeldsgade 4-I.
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1925. col. 861.
Kam Rasmus Gross. Løvstr. 5 ... Byen 60 53. - - Bolig Sundholmsv. 57 ... Amager 29 24 x
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1926. col. 868.
Kam Rasmus Gross. Løvstr. 5 ... Byen 60 53 - - - Bolig Skt. Kjeldsg. 4 ... Strand 11 93 y
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1929. col. 936.
Kam Rasmus Gross. Gl. Mønt 4 ... Byen 60 53 - - - Bolig Skt. Kjeldsg. 4 ... Ryvang 11 93 y
- Tingbog [Land register] (in Danish). Gentofte. 21g, 21le.
- 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.
- "1. Udskrivningskreds. 1. lægd" [First Enlistment Circuit. First Levying District]. Landrulle. Register til tilgangslister [Levy Roll (Army). Index of supplementary roll]. 1848 - 1940 (in Danish). 1939.
Kam Sören 22A-69
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1947. col. 1679.
Kam Rasmus Gross. Kronprinsensg. 13 ... Byen 60 53 - - - Bolig Hans Bruunsv. 20 ... Ordrup 30 81
- KTAS telefonbog [KTAS Phone Book] (PDF) (in Danish). Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab. 1949. col. 1853.
Kam Rs. Gross. Vesterbrog. 29 ... EY 8172 - Bol. Harsdorffsvej 13 ... Hemmeligt Nr.
- "Ridderkorset til SS-Obersturmführer Søren Kam" [Knight's Cross for SS-Obersturmführer Søren Kam]. Politiken (in Danish). 15 February 1945.
- Pedersen, Andreas Monrad (2000). Schalburgkorpset: historien om korpset og dets medlemmer 1943-45 [The Schalburg Corps: The history of the corps and its members 1943-45] (in Danish) (Revised edition of master's thesis, University of Copenhagen, 1994 ed.). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. 225 pages. ISBN 87-7838-565-2.
- "Søren Kam angav danske jøder" [Søren Kam denounced Danish Jews]. Politiken (in Danish). 7 February 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- "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
- "Fra den BLAA BOG" [From Who's Who]. 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
- "Tyskland afviser udlevering af Søren Kam" [Germany refuses extradition of Søren Kam]. Berlingske (in Danish). 29 August 1999. Retrieved 2 July 2015 – via Ritzau.
- Min morfars morder at the Internet Movie Database
- "Most Wanted Nazis", Bridget Johnson, About.com
- "Kam: Drabssag er forældet" [Kam: Murder case too old] (in Danish). February 4, 2007. Archived from the original on March 5, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2007.
- "The Danish Nazi". BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- Simon Wiesenthal Center 2014 Annual Report on the Status of Nazi War Criminals (PDF). Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center. 2014.
- "Efterår 2015: Fagbøger og biografier fra L&R" [Fall 2015: Non-fiction and biographies from L&R]. forlagsliv.dk (in Danish). 29 May 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- "Søren Kams erindringer" [The memoirs of Søren Kam]. plusbog.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- Former SS officer sheltering in Germany, Daily Telegraph, 29 November 2007
- SK: Most-wanted Nazi dies aged 93 a free man, The Independent, 2 April 2015
- Additional information on his alleged war crimes
- on YouTube
- Washington Post on his demise
- translated article about his life and trial. Original article