Canada extradites ex-Nazi guard to Italy

Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:09pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A former Nazi guard has been extradited to Italy, where he has been convicted of committing war crimes during World War Two, Canada's Justice Department said on Friday.

Michael Seifert, who has lived in Canada since 1951, was turned over to the control of Italian authorities in Toronto on Friday afternoon for a flight back to Italy, an official said.

Local media said Seifert was expected to arrive in Italy on Saturday via a military flight, but Canadian officials could not confirm that and Italian officials in Canada would not comment on the case.

An Italian military court convicted Seifert, 83, in absentia in 2000 of torturing and killing nine people while serving as a guard at a prison camp in Bolzano, Italy, in the waning days of World War Two.

Press reports say Seifert and another guard were called the "Beasts of Bolzano" by prisoners at the facility, which held Jews and political prisoners awaiting transfer to German concentration camps.

Seifert has acknowledged being a guard at the prison, but denied that he had killed anyone.

He was born in 1924 in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, and began work as a guard in the Nazi SD after the German occupation.

He moved to Canada after the war, claiming to be from Estonia, and found employment as a mill worker in Vancouver, where he raised a family and lived until he was arrested at Italy's request in 2002.   Continued...