Three Nazi war criminals whom democratic Spain never extradited to Germany

Catalan MonitorArticles

Photo: Esteban González Pons (Credit: Begoña Fuentes)

By Joan Vila and Gerar Sesé
From, 11th April, 2018

The PP party member and MEP, Esteban González Pons had the gall to write a letter to MEPs stating “No Spanish judge would dare to give refuge to a German trying to break the constitutional order” and “Spain belongs to Europe. We believe in this common European project and we are prepared to fight for it. But this Union is only possible if we can have trust between members and if we support each other when one of us is being attacked. That is what Europe means.”

Well, what he writes asking for, is exactly what his dear homeland did not do on several occasions. The letter from the PP member clashes with the passivity with which the Spanish authorities dealt with recognised Nazi war criminals during post-Franco times. Here, we remember, as a start, three well-known cases:

1- Hauke Bert Pattist Joustra (Holland, 1920 – Oviedo 2001) 

Former Lieutenant of the Waffen-SS died who died in 2001 in Oviedo. In 1947 he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Holland for war crimes. The Dutch government called for his extradition in 1979 and again in 1982. During the last attempt he was loaded onto a ship, but released by the police, after alleging his Spanish nationality, obtained in 1966. The National Court declared in 1982: “given the circumstances of the case, the delivery of Pattist to Holland, far from supposing an offense to the dignity of the Spanish State, would imply an act of nobility in international relations” according to an article published in El País, published a year later. He was never extradited.

2- León Dregelle (Belgium, 1906 – Màlaga 1994)

A Brigadeführer nominated by Adolf Hitler, despite being tried and sentenced to death in Belgium in 1945, was welcomed in Spain until his death. Exiled to Constantina, Andalusia, he lived next to the American base of the 872 Aircraft Control And Warning Squadron (now the base is known as EVA-3 and managed by the Spanish air forces). There he founded “Inmuebles Andaluces S.A”. Over the years he moved to Madrid, where he defended national socialism with books such as “History of the European Waffen-SS”, “Hitler. The March to the Reich (1918-1933)” or “Appeal to Young Europeans.” Until the last years of his life he made nationalist speeches, as we can see below, in Barcelona, 1981:

3- Otto Remer (Pomerania West, 1912 – Marbella, 1997)

It is a notable case, that the head of security of Adolf Hitler, was a prisoner of war from 1945 to 1947. As the Führer’s security chief he dodged several attempts on his life. In 1950 he founded the Socialist Party of the Reich in West Germany, illegalized in 1952 after obtaining 360,000 votes in the State of Lower Saxony. In 1992, he was sentenced to incitement to hatred, violence and racism. In 1994 he took exile in Spain, a country that denied his extradition to Germany. Judge Baltasar Garzón demanded he be imprisoned, but this proposition was unsuccessful due to a lack of corresponding crimes on the Spanish statute to those of which he was accused in Germany. After also living in Egypt and Syria, he died in Marbella in 1997.

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