On this day: A Nazi sentenced

August 11 2009: Jailed for life

By Jennifer Lipman, August 11, 2011

At the age of 25, in 1944, Josef Scheungraber was a Nazi commander operating in Italy. It was on his orders that the military police massacred 14 people in a quiet Tuscany village. His victims were ordered into a barn and the barn was then blown up.

It would take another 65 years for justice to be done. But finally a Munich court sentenced him to life after convicting him on 10 counts of murder as well as one count of attempted murder.

Scheungraber had denied the charges and his lawyers argued there was no evidence, despite the fact that he had already been convicted in an Italian military court for the same crime.

The case rested on photographs placing him at the scene and a conversation about why Scheungraber could not return to Italy, recounted by a key witness.

The sole survivor of the attack, then a 15 year old, told the court: "I heard a scream, and that was it then. They were all dead."

What Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff told the JC: People see a frail old gentleman. War criminals might be old now but in the prime of their lives they put all of their energy into murdering innocent people. I call it misplaced sympathy syndrome. These people had no mercy for their victims.

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Last updated: 12:26pm, February 23 2012