Alex Constantine - June 1, 2012
" ... The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish human rights organization, listed him as No. 3 among its most wanted Nazi-era war criminals. But Mr. Faber was not in hiding. He had lived in Ingolstadt for many years, holding an office job with the Audi automobile company. ... "
By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
New York Times, June 1, 2012
Klaas Faber, a Dutch native and Nazi collaborator who was convicted in the killing of Jews and resistance fighters in his homeland in World War II before escaping to Germany and living there a free man through decades of legal wrangling, died on May 24 in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. He was 90.
His death was confirmed by an official of the hospital where he died, The Associated Press reported.
Two years ago, when the Dutch undertook a new effort to have the Germans return Mr. Faber to the Netherlands or order him to serve out his life sentence in Germany, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish human rights organization, listed him as No. 3 among its most wanted Nazi-era war criminals.
But Mr. Faber was not in hiding. He had lived in Ingolstadt for many years, holding an office job with the Audi automobile company. The Germans had refused to extradite him on the ground that he had German citizenship under an edict issued by Hitler in 1943 conveying it on foreigners who had aided the Nazi war cause.
When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Mr. Faber and his brother Pieter Johan Faber joined the German SS death squads operating there. In 1947 a Dutch court convicted Klaas Faber of taking part in killings at three Dutch locations, including the Westerbork transit camp, where Dutch Jews, among them Anne Frank, were held before being sent to concentration camps. His brother was also convicted of participating in murders.
Both brothers were sentenced to death. Pieter Johan was executed by a firing squad. But Klaas Faber’s punishment was commuted to a life sentence on appeal because it could not be proved that he had personally been involved in killings.
Their father, Pieter Faber, had been a senior member of the Dutch Nazi Party, according to Agence-France Press. He was killed by the Dutch resistance in 1944.
In December 1952 Mr. Faber broke out of a prison in the southern Netherlands city of Breda along with six other former SS men, and they made their way to the West German city of Essen, some 90 miles away. Soon afterward, Mr. Faber received German citizenship under Hitler’s 1943 directive, which had not been repealed.
The Dutch first sought Mr. Faber’s extradition in 1954, but the German authorities blocked that — along with subsequent efforts — asserting that German law prohibited extradition of citizens.
When Mr. Faber escaped to Germany, a total of 364 war criminals were still being held there by the United States, the British and the French pending establishment of a Joint Allied-German Board of Review to consider the cases.
Drew Middleton of The New York Times, reporting from Bonn in January 1953 on the aftermath of the escapes from the Dutch prison, told of “the sympathetic attitude of an increasing number of Germans toward war prisoners and their crimes.”
A German court ruled in 1957 that it had insufficient evidence to try Mr. Faber as an alternative to allowing his return to the Netherlands. A Dutch request to have him jailed in Germany in 2004 also failed. German prosecutors received new evidence from the Netherlands in 2006 but found that he may have been guilty not of murder but only of manslaughter, for which the statute of limitations had expired.
The Dutch persisted. In 2010 they filed a European arrest warrant, which allows prosecutors in any member country of the European Union to request, without bureaucratic delay or restrictions, the extradition of a person accused in any of about 30 areas of criminal activity .
“The fact that this murderer of so many innocent people has been protected by Germany for so many decades is a travesty and sends a message that even those convicted of multiple murders can escape justice,” Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and its coordinator of investigations into surviving war criminals, said at the time.
The Germans still refused to extradite Mr. Faber. But in a step arising out of the arrest warrant, a prosecutor in Ingolstadt sought his imprisonment. The prosecutor stated that a court there would not need to reconsider the allegations in the Dutch case but could decide whether, as a result of the rejection of the European Arrest Warrant, the sentence against him could be enforced in Germany. That matter was pending when Mr. Faber died.
Klaas Carel Faber was born in Haarlem on Jan. 20, 1922. His survivors include his wife, Jacoba. They were reported to have had three children.
In Mr. Faber’s final years, the British newspaper The Sun reported that Mr. Faber had rejected a request for an interview in Ingolstadt.
“After years as an anonymous office worker at Audi, Faber now enjoys a cozy retirement relaxing in local parks and going on shopping trips in his VW Golf,” The Sun wrote. It reported that neighbors found him to be “quiet, but friendly and polite.”