In other circumstances the man in the wheelchair would have seemed a pathetic figure. He had been at Buchenwald concentration camp. His face was pale and craggy, his left arm a stump, his right leg missing. Sick and shattered, he looked older than his 43 years. But in Bayreuth Circuit Court last week spectators hissed as the man was carried past. "Beast!" they cried. "Monster!"

Gerhard Martin Sommer, the man in the wheelchair, had indeed been at Buchenwald—but not as a prisoner. As the master of the punishment cellblock between 1938 and 1943, Sommer was the broad-shouldered bullyboy who, in...

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