Will the 90-year-old Nazi accused of the murder of 58 Jews during the Holocaust get away with it? Professor Walter Manoschek of the University of Vienna, who exposed the SS officer during research studies along with student Andreas Forster, says the Nazi probably won't be prosecuted.
"At his age and in his shaky health, I doubt the trial will open," Manoschek told Ynet in a phone call from Vienna on Wednesday, not hiding his disappointment.
He added, "His health was not good a year ago, but there is no doubt that he understands what is going on around him and he is still lucid."
Adolf Storms, an SS officer who hid his past ever since the war, was exposed by Manoschek and Forster while they wrote a research paper on the massacre of Jews during World War II.
Manoschek said that as part of political science course at the University of Vienna, the student investigated a trial held after the war in 1946 in which three Nazis were accused of murdering Jews.
One of the names to come up was Storms, an SS officer suspected of murdering at least 58 Jewish forced laborers in Austria in the last months of the war, but no charges were brought against him.
This led Forster and the professor to launch their own investigation and try to track him down. Of the investigation Manoschek said, "From the moment we got his name we worked together and extracted more information on him.
"We called him and asked him to meet with us. We told him that we were doing research on the experiences of German soldiers during the Second World War. Storms was convinced, and this is how I made my way to his house in the city of Duisburg in Germany."
'We were not the real victims'
Of the meeting with the Nazi officer the professor said, "Storms spoke of his experiences in the war. But I didn't want to talk about the massacre of the Jews on the first day I sat with him. A day later I visited him again with a cameraman and I asked him if I could film the interview, and he agreed.
"I verified with him the trial of 1946 and he told me he was not in this trial, that those were only Hitler's men, and that his name was only mentioned in the trial."
According to Manoschek, Storms claims he doesn't remember much. He neither denied nor confirmed the massacre of Jews, but two of Hitler's men who are still alive said they remember his name and his deeds. The Nazis say he is responsible for the murder of at least 60 Jews.
Of the student who helped him expose the Nazi officer Manoschek said, "Andreas Forster was very dedicated to the cause, I don't know why he chose to research this issue – he is not Jewish, but I am sure it gave him satisfaction.
"I have been investigating the Holocaust for years, I've become an expert on the subject, but when you come across someone like him it is very interesting, because we add more and more facts and can learn and teach the subject in a more comprehensive way and also do more justice."
The professor also says that the Austrians' approach to the Holocaust has changed in the past 15 years. "The media deals with the subject more than it did in the past. Certainly not as much as in Israel, but the image the Austrians have of the Holocaust has changed.
"Once we thought that we, the Austrians, were the primary victims of the Nazis, and today we understand that we were not the real victims," he said.
The professor added that he is "certain that there are many more Nazis walking among us who have yet to be caught and are living under aliases today."