ROME — A Ukrainian-born Nazi SS guard serving a life sentence for murders committed during World War II has died.
Officials said Michael Seifert, known as the “beast of Bolzano,” died last Saturday in a hospital in Caserta, Italy, where he had been transferred Oct. 25 from the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison because of a broken femur. He was 86.
In 2000, a military court in Verona convicted Seifert, who had lived in Canada since 1951, in absentia of murdering inmates while a guard at an SS-run prison transit camp at Bolzano in northern Italy.
Witnesses said Seifert tortured prisoners and committed other atrocities.
Seifert was extradited from Canada in 2008 to serve out his sentence after the Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal of a 2007 Federal Court ruling that he lied about his wartime past in order to enter Canada and obtain citizenship.
The 2007 Federal Court ruling, which came after years of legal wrangling in the case, was welcomed by Canadian Jewish Congress, which has long urged more urgent action against Nazi war criminals.
The camp at Bolzano had served as a transit camp for Italian partisans, forced workers, German army deserters and Jews being shipped north in 1944-45.
Seifert’s lawyer, Paolo Giachino, complained to the ApCom news agency that judges had rebuffed efforts to allow Seifert to serve his sentence under house arrest because of “continued demonization by extremists in the Jewish community.