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UK pensioner investigated for alleged war crimes in landmark case

Pensioner who lived in Telford, Shropshire has reportedly become the first person in the UK to be investigated for Nazi war crimes

    Nazi news report shows German customs officers patrolling the Bug River (Poland, Ukraine, Belarus), date and location unknown. Credit PA Images
    Nazi news report shows German customs officers patrolling the Bug River (Poland, Ukraine, Belarus), date and location unknown. Credit PA Images

    A pensioner who lived in the UK  until his death last year was investigated in Germany for alleged war crimes, it has emerged.

    Stanislaw Chrzanowski, 96, from Shropshire, was investigated by authorities in Munich in connection with the murder of civilians in his home town of Slonim, Belarus, during the Second World War.

    He had served as in an auxiliary unit assisting the occupying Nazi forces. He came to Britain after being captured as a prisoner of war and joined the Allied forces.

    Mr Chrzanowski, who lived in Hadley, Telford, did not know he was under investigation before his death last October. But he had previously denied being a war criminal.

    British authorities were alerted to the case when his stepson, John Kingston, sent a dossier of evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit.

    The case is now being hailed as a landmark Nazi war crimes probe – meaning anyone who served in a German unit could now be prosecuted regardless of their nationality or the nationality of their victims.

    During the 1990s Mr Kingston travelled to Slonim where he collected evidence from locals who claimed to have witnessed Mr Chrzanowski joining the invading Nazis and shooting prisoners in forest death pits.

    The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to take action at the time – but Nazi war crimes prosecutors  in Ludwigsburg, Germany, reopened the case after seeing the interviews.

     Mr Kingston said: "I think it's good that Germany should actually do something to try to put the past right.

    "My stepfather is just one individual, and there were thousands like him, so it's more important that he's an example or a case in particular."

    Nick Southall from BBC Radio Shropshire said the Chrzanowski investigation showed Germany was serious about pursuing further prosecutions of Nazi war criminals living outside the country.

    Karen Pollack MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:“This is a landmark case in bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, regardless of their nationality or residency.  

    "The victims of Holocaust were never afforded the chance to live their lives, but many perpetrators died without facing the consequences of their crimes.

    It may have happened over 70 years ago, but the history of the Holocaust is just as relevant today. We must therefore continue to investigate and expose perpetrators who have yet to face justice.”

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