BERLIN – Klaas Carel Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands of Nazi war crimes and subsequently lived in freedom despite several attempts to try or extradite him, has died. He was 90.
Faber's wife, Jacoba, told the Dutch news site de Nieuwe Pers that he died in a hospital on Thursday. A hospital official in Ingolstadt, the Bavarian city where the Fabers lived, confirmed that Saturday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with policy.
Faber — whom the Simon Wiesenthal Center last year placed at No. 3 on its list of most-wanted Nazi criminals — was convicted in 1947 of involvement in 22 murders and for aiding the Netherlands' Nazi occupiers during World War II. He was handed a death sentence that was later commuted to life in prison, according to Dutch prosecutors.
But in 1952, he escaped and fled to Germany, where he lived in freedom.
Faber was saved by his German citizenship when German authorities rejected a request from the Netherlands last year for his extradition on a European arrest warrant. In January, Ingolstadt prosecutor Helmut Walter said he had filed a motion to have Faber serve his sentence in a German prison.
Walter said a state court in Ingolstadt wouldn't need to reconsider any of the Dutch case but decide whether, as a result of the European arrest warrant being rejected, the sentence against him could be enforced in Germany.
Prosecutors could not be reached for comment on Saturday, the start of a three-day weekend in Germany.
Faber was born in the Netherlands on Jan. 20, 1922.
Dutch prosecutors have said he was convicted for killings at three different Dutch locations in 1944-1945, including six at the Westerbork transit camp, where thousands of Dutch Jews, including Anne Frank, were held before being sent to labor camps or death camps in eastern Europe.
According to the Wiesenthal Center, Faber volunteered for Hitler's SS, a paramilitary organization loyal to Nazi ideology, after Germany overran the Netherlands during World War II.
He also served with the Sicherheitsdienst, the Nazi internal intelligence agency, and an SS unit code-named Silbertanne, or Silver Fir, which consisted of 15 men, most of them Dutch, who were mustered to exact reprisals for attacks by the Dutch resistance on collaborators, according to the Wiesenthal Center.
Dutch authorities first requested his extradition in 1954, but Faber had been able to get German citizenship because of his service to Germany during the war, so the request was rejected because West Germany refused to extradite its own citizens.
In 1957 a Duesseldorf court rejected attempts to bring him to trial in Germany, saying there was not enough evidence against him.
After a Dutch request to have him jailed in Germany in 2004 failed, Munich prosecutors in 2006 received new evidence from the Netherlands and looked into reopening the files. But prosecutors found that the former SS man may have been guilty not of murder but only of manslaughter — and the statute of limitations for that crime had expired.
In 2010, the Netherlands again asked for his extradition, using a new European arrest warrant. It was again rejected, because his consent was still needed to extradite him as a German citizen.