West Germany: The Commandant of Auschwitz

One foggy morning last week, three law-enforcement officers walked up to a strapping woodcutter bending over a power saw deep in the dark North German forest of Sachsenwald. "Hands up!" shouted an officer, and the surprised lumberjack allowed himself to be handcuffed without resistance. Thus the law finally caught up with former SS Sturmbannführer Richard Baer, 49, last commandant of Hitler's infamous Auschwitz extermination camp.

When the blacklist of Nazi mass murderers was drawn up for the Nürnberg war crimes trials, Baer was presumed dead—The two SS men who commanded Auschwitz before him were caught and hanged by the Poles, one...

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