One of Sweden’s most notorious criminals appeared in a court in Germany earlier this week, charged with the murder of a Holocaust survivor he is accused of having committed in Frankfurt more than 25 years ago.
The man, John Ausonius, went on a racially motivated spree in Sweden in 1991 and 1992—in which he killed one person and injured 10 others in attacks in the Stockholm area—for which he is currently serving a life sentence in Sweden.
Dubbed the “laser man” by Swedish media for his use of a laser sight and rifle for some of the shootings, he is thought to have inspired anti-immigrant attacks such as the 2011 massacre by Norwegian Anders Breivik and shootings by Peter Mangs in Sweden.
Ausonius, now 64, is suspected of having shot dead a woman in broad daylight in Frankfurt in 1992 and taking her handbag, while on the run from the authorities after the shootings in Sweden.
On February 8, 1992, Ausonius visited a restaurant in Frankfurt. Two weeks later he returned, accusing cloakroom attendant Blanka Zmigrod of having stolen an electronic Casio notebook from his pocket.
An altercation ended with Ausonius shouting “we will meet again” at Zmigrod as he left the restaurant. The following night, the 68-year-old was shot from close range by a hooded cyclist as she walked home from work.
A new documentary, published last Wednesday by the Swedish Aftonbladet tabloid, reveals for the first time that Zmigrod had been a prisoner at four concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and survived several of the infamous “death marches.”
After the war, she met fellow Holocaust survivor Sacha Feldman in Tel Aviv, and in 1960 the couple moved back to Germany to run restaurants and hotels.
Swedish police investigator Stefan Bergquist has said Ausonius smiled and appeared happy when informed during questioning in 1993 that Zmigrod had Jewish ancestry.
Ausonius has confirmed that he used to possess the same type of Browning pistol and ammunition used in the murder, but denies shooting Zmigrod. His lawyer, Joachim Bremer, said there were “isolated leads, but no self-sustaining chain (of evidence)” which proved Ausonius was responsible for the death.
Although Ausonius denies the killing, he did not objected to being transferred to Germany for the trial on condition he serves any possible jail sentence in Sweden.
After the murder trial ends, he is to be returned to Sweden where a court sentenced him to life in 1995 for the Stockholm shootings as well as a string of bank robberies.