BERLIN (Reuters) - A Nazi war criminal who escaped from a Dutch jail and lived as a fugitive in Germany for 60 years has died at the age of 90, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Monday.
Klaas Carel Faber, number two on the Center’s list of most wanted Nazi criminals, was sentenced to death in 1947 in the Netherlands for the killings of at least 11 people at a staging post for Dutch Jews being taken to concentration camps.
His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment but he escaped in 1952 and fled to Germany, where he became a citizen and had lived since 1961 in the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt.
He had long resisted attempts by his native Netherlands to extradite him and died shortly before prosecutors in Ingolstadt were preparing to detain him, said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Nazi-hunting group.
“The decision was imminent. We know the state prosecutors in Ingolstadt supported sending Faber to jail to serve the rest of his life sentence,” Zuroff told Reuters.
It was the second death this year of a top Nazi criminal. John Demjanjuk, a retired U.S. engine mechanic, died in March aged 91 in Germany. A Munich court convicted him in 2011 for his role in the killing of 28,000 Jews as a Nazi death camp guard.
Zuroff said Faber, a member of the Dutch SS, had killed at least 24 people, many of them at the Westerbork transit camp, from where Dutch Jews were taken to concentration camps in the Netherlands, Poland and Germany.
Victims included Jews and Dutch citizens who had tried to hide and protect them, he said.
Faber’s older brother Piet, also a member of the SS, was shot by a firing squad after the war.
Dutch efforts to extradite Faber were frustrated by a German law from 1943 that prevented extradition of German nationals for war crimes.
A state court in Duesseldorf ruled in 1957 that it had insufficient evidence to try Faber. But following the high-profile Demjanjuk trial, German prosecutors reopened investigations of Nazi-era crimes.
Local media reported that Faber died in a hospital in Ingolstadt on Thursday.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most wanted Nazi war criminal is Hungarian Laszlo Csatary, 95, who is accused of helping organise the deportation of more than 15,000 Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp from the Slovakian city of Kosice in 1944.
Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Pravin Char