The Second World War was fought over 70 years ago. Surprisingly, some of the men still living are wanted for war crimes, yet after all this time they continue to avoid serving jail time. Below are men who allegedly committed horrific crimes during World War II, but continue to live as free citizens.
Gerhard Sommer Pillaged An Entire Village And Went Free
Gerhard Sommer was born in June of 1921 near Zwickau in Saxony, Germany. Young Sommer, like many of his peers, became a member of the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth). He did well and earned the rank of Jungzugführer in the Deutsche Jungvolk. By 1939, at the age of 18, Sommer joined the Nazi Party. Not long after that, he enlisted in the Waffen-SS. He was wounded in battle after fighting in Ukraine and the Balkans, and was consequently awarded an Iron Cross 2nd class. When he recovered, he set his sights higher.
Sommer put his name forth for the rank of SS-Reserveführer. After a successful promotion, he trained in Proschnitz, just south of where he grew up. By late January 1944, Sommer made another career advancement. He was made a SS-Untersturmführer and thus served as a Zugführer and later a Kompanieführer in the 7th Kompanie des II Bataillons/SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 35. On August 19, 1944 he was awarded another Iron Cross; this time it was not 2nd, but 1st class.
His claim to notoriety is linked to his probable involvement in the massacre of 560 people. Throughout Europe, near the war’s end, there are a number of stories about Nazi soldiers who unleashed a wrath of fury through committing heinous acts. Atrocities against entire villages sometimes left every villager dead. The motive is most often cited as anger over the war’s end. If so, Sommer is not an exception. He is thought to be one of the soldiers who in early August 1944 entered the picturesque hillside Tuscan village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, where, along with other German troops commanded byAnton Galler, gathered those living there and murdered them.
Every non-soldier there that morning was locked into one of several barns and stables normally used for farming. Swiftly, they carried out executions. In other instances in Europe when this happened, women and children were locked in churches, which were burned while the men of the village were made to stay outside the church where they were executed. The village priest, Fiore Menguzzo was shot at point-blank range. The victims included at least 107 children, and 8 pregnant women. At the end, the lifeless bodies were piled into the church and burned. Sommer was tried in Italy and convicted. He has yet to stand trial in Germany, where he still lives today.