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article imageNazi war criminal 'Beast of Bolzano' dies at 86

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 6, 2010 in World
The former Nazi SS prison guard known as the Beast of Bolzano because of his cruelty has died in an Italian hospital at the age of 86.
Michael Seifert was serving a life sentence in Italy’s Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison, but had been admitted to hospital in Caserta on October 25.
In 2000 by an Italian military tribunal convicted him, in absentia, of murders at a prison camp in Bolzano, Italy.
He admitted that he had been a guard at the SS-run camp, but denied committing the cruel acts of which he was accused.
During Siefert’s trial, witnesses testified that he starved a 15-year-old prisoner to death, gouged another’s eyes out, and tortured a woman before killing her and her daughter. One witness said he laughed while he tortured people.
In 1944 and 1945, the Bolzano camp held Jews, Italian resistance fighters and German army deserters.
Seifert, who was born in Ukraine, concealed his past and entered Canada in 1951.
In 2002, he was arrested by Canadian authorities, following a request from Italy. In 2003, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled he should be extradited, but he was able to stay in the country until 2008 because of legal battles.
When Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal, he was sent to Italy.
The BBC reported that he was sent from prison to the hospital because he had a fractured femur, and that he also had an operation for a gastric complication.
Photos of Seifert can be seen on the BBC website.
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