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Berlin - German prosecutors have launched a probe into a 91-year-old man suspected of taking part in a 1942 massacre of over 300 Jews from the Zhytomyr ghetto in Ukraine, a local daily reported Monday.
“There is suspicion that this man is guilty of involvement in the murder of 360 people,” spokeswoman Petra Hertwig for the Cottbus prosecutor's office told the Markische Allgemeine daily.
“We're looking into whether there is also material for other investigations,” she added, without revealing details.
AFP was not immediately able to confirm the report.
The man, referred to only as Herbert N., belonged to the SS commando suspected of having killed Jews, including women and children, from the Zhitomir ghetto.
In October 1942, 60 Jews from the ghetto were driven in trucks to a forest some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Zhytomyr, central Ukraine, where six German soldiers killed them and tossed their remains into a mass grave.
The following month 30 other soldiers from the commando massacred 300 more Jews in similar circumstances by shooting them in groups of 60, according to the daily.
A key hurdle facing the investigation lies in the difficulty of rounding up witnesses 70 years after the fact. The first witness to report the massacres in 1947 while he was a prisoner of war in the ex-Soviet Union died in 1971.
In 1985, the prosecutor's office in the western city of Wiesbaden abandoned proceedings against the head of the unit responsible for the massacres amid doubts over the truth of witness testimony.
Herbert N.'s name first surfaced when the state body tasked with uncovering Nazi criminals was searching for witnesses in another case. - Sapa-AFP