Nazi entertainer loses German case

17th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch Nazi entertainer accused of singing for the SS finds few sympathisers.

BERLIN -- A 105 year old Dutch born cabaret star who went to court to silence accusations that he entertained SS guards at the Dachau concentration camp in 1941 saw his case thrown out on Tuesday.

Johannes "Jopie" Heesters, who shot to fame during the Nazi era, had admitted to visiting Dachau but rejected allegations by cabaret historian Volker Kuehn that he performed there.

Berlin regional court judge Michael Mauck said Heesters had been unable to disprove the charge and that Kuehn's research had been professional.

Kuehn, in an award winning audio documentary Mit den Woelfen geheult - Hitler und die Kuenstler (Howling with the Wolves -- Hitler and the Artists), had quoted a former Dachau prisoner, Viktor Matejka, who said he was in charge of raising the stage curtain at the start of a camp performance.

Heesters twice sought to perform in his native country the Netherlands. In 1963, the public greeted him with a Nazi salute as he attempted to sing in an Amsterdam theatre. In Feb. this year, another concert drew a wave of protests.

Shortly before his birthday on Dec. 5, Heesters told a Dutch television channel that "Hitler was a good bloke." He later apologized for his remark.

This week's edition of the German celebrity magazine Bunte has further quoted him as denying he ever backed the Nazi regime.

"I always refused to join the NSDAP (Nazi party). At that time I only sought to protect myself and my family," he said, adding that he had never been interested in politics.


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