Former Nazi SS officer appeals conviction

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

HAMBURG, Germany -- A former Nazi SS major has appealed his conviction on 59 counts of murder for a World War II massacre of Italian prisoners, the Hamburg state court said Monday.

Friedrich Engel, 93, on Friday was sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in the shootings on a mountain pass above Genoa, but the Hamburg court let him walk away a free man because of his age. There was no word on when the Federal Criminal Court would hear his appeal.

Engel has steadfastly denied charges that he ordered the shooting. He said the operation was led by the navy, whose units guarded and shot the prisoners May 19, 1944.

Judge Rolf Seedorf said Friday that the evidence showed Engel played a leading role in organizing the shootings in reprisal for an attack on a movie theater.

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