BUENOS AIRES — A man suspected of being a former Nazi SS officer, believed responsible for selecting Jews from Polish ghettos and work camps to be sent to the Auschwitz death camp during World War II, has been arrested in northern Argentina, authorities said Saturday.
Joseph Leo Schwammberger, 75, described in May by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies as being among the most notorious Nazi war criminals still free, was taken into custody without incident Friday in Huerta Grande, about 500 miles north of Buenos Aires, where he had been living.
Hours after Schwammberger's arrest, a bomb exploded at a synagogue in Buenos Aires, blowing off its doors, shattering windows and wrecking an awning. Police said no one was injured by the blast.
Schwammberger was being held in a jail in La Plata, 35 miles southeast of Buenos Aires, where he is awaiting possible extradition to West Germany under a request made in 1973 by a court in Stuttgart.
The extradition papers state that Schwammberger is wanted for trial for "murder for pleasure, hate and racial motives and the theft of personal belongings through blackmail and threats."