Croatia Investigates 90-year-old Man of War Crimes

Railway tracks leading to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland. (photo credit: Serge Attal/Flash90)

Recently, authorities in Croatia have begun investigating a in his 90s of being guilty of committing war crimes. The man is believed to be an SS soldier and a guard the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Germany’s Special Prosecutor’s Office for Investigation of Crimes during the period of National Socialism alerted the Croatian authorities that Jacob Dencinger may be in the country.

Dencinger was flagged by the US for having lied in an application to become an American citizen which he received in 1972. He relocated to the US almost 16 years earlier and then left in 1989 when his citizenship was revoked. Dencinger was born in Cepin and was reportedly an Ethnic German. It is alleged that Dencinger joined the Waffen SS elite Nazi unit during the Second World War when Croatia was ruled by a pro-Nazi government.

The Croatian State Attorney’s Office confirmed they had received information about Dencinger; however, they did not give further information about his whereabouts, even though the United States had requested it. According to the Times of Israel, Dencinger is listed by German authorities, having joined the Waffen SS when he was 18 years old. He had served as a guard at least five of the concentration camps—one of which includes Auschwitz.

Sasa Cvetkovic, vice president of the Jewish Community of Zagreb, said in a statement last week that the community was “closely monitoring the investigation by the Croatian authorities.”

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE