The Italian Almanac

Seifert with his lawyer

The Butcher of Bolzano

Michael Seifert, a former Nazi also known as the 'Butcher of Bolzano', failed in his final appeal against extradition from Canada. The news was hailed by Italy's ex-partisan association ANPI here, which said Seifert should be handed back to Italy to serve a life sentence he received in 2000.Seifert, 83, denied killing anyone in Italy and claimed he had even been punished by the Nazis for having sexual relations with an Italian civilian.

The former SS corporal was found guilty of a string of World War Two crimes including 18 murders in a Bolzano concentration camp in 1944-45. Seifert, who moved to Canada in 1951 and later became a Canadian citizen, was arrested on April 30, 2002 in response to an extradition request from Italy and after Canadian authorities ascertained that he had lied when applying for citizenship.

In November 2000, Seifert, known in the concentration camp as 'Misha', was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in Verona for having tortured to death at least 18 internees of the Bolzano camp. Italy's supreme court definitively confirmed the sentence in October 2002. He was also ordered to pay 50,000 euros in compensation to the Italian partisans' and deportees' associations.

Canadian courts have ruled that the Ukranian-born former Nazi is fit to stand trial, rejecting a defence request that he undergo further testing to determine the state of his mental health.