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Entertainer, 105, loses lawsuit in Nazi case

SHARE Entertainer, 105, loses lawsuit in Nazi case

BERLIN — A court ruled Tuesday that too much time has passed to prove whether or not a 105-year-old entertainer sang for Nazi guards at a concentration camp during World War II.

Johannes Heesters had sought a retraction and injunction against German author and documentary maker Volker Kuehn, who has said the entertainer sang for SS troops at Dachau concentration camp in 1941.

Kuehn, who attended the hearing in a Berlin state court, welcomed the ruling as an "important signal." In some of his works, Kuehn cites a former Dachau inmate, Viktor Matejka, who insisted he pulled the curtain for Heesters before the entertainer performed for the SS.

Heesters took Kuehn to court to try to force him to retract the statements.

Judge Michael Mauck ruled there were "certain indications of a performance" by Heesters, but more than six decades later it was "no longer possible to clarify whether a performance took place."

"It will most likely never be clear," Kuehn told reporters after the ruling.

Neither Heesters nor his lawyer was in the courtroom.

Born Dec. 5, 1903, in Amersfoort, Netherlands, Heesters moved in the early 1930s to Vienna, Austria, and then to Berlin, where he became popular with the Nazis. He was never accused of being a propagandist or anything other than an actor willing to perform for the Nazis, however, and the Allies allowed him to continue his career after the war.

Heesters, who has Austrian citizenship and lives in Bavaria, still performs on the stage.