It is never too late for justice, and one former Nazi just found that out the hard way.
After over 70 years on the run, 98-year-old Dolph Melsbach, who once worked as a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp, was captured yesterday after being spotted hosting the entertainment news program Access Hollywood. The alleged war criminal was spotted by an employee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles–based organization that spearheads efforts to prosecute former Nazis, who promptly alerted authorities.
Melsbach was apprehended by police at the show’s Universal City studio shortly after taping a juicy interview with The Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher and then taken into custody, where he now faces charges of complicity in the murder of more than 200,000 European Jews between 1943 and 1945.
Score one for the good guys!
“Let this be a warning to all the other Nazi criminals still out there on the run,” said a spokesperson for the Wiesenthal Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re living on the lam in South America or hiding in plain sight as the host of a popular Hollywood tabloid show—If you participated in the mass genocide of Jews during the Holocaust, we will find you, and we will hold you accountable for your crimes.”
For decades, Melsbach had successfully eluded his grisly past, having escaped to the United States in the 1950s, where he built a new life under the name Raymond DeWitt. Once a prominent member of the notorious Nazi Death’s Head guard battalion, the elderly Melsbach has spent the past 17 years as an Access Hollywood celebrity gossip segment host, delighting viewers with his sassy riffs on the latest Tinseltown drama delivered in a dense German accent. People who worked with him on the show say they knew him only as a talented pop culture commentator, clarifying that while he could be quiet and reserved about his personal life, no one could have ever suspected the terrible secret he was hiding.
Immediately after the news broke that Melsbach faces extradition to Germany to stand trial for his role in the largest genocide of the 20th century, Access Hollywood terminated his contract and released the following statement:
“At Access Hollywood, we strive only to provide entertaining coverage of all the biggest names and most exciting events in Hollywood, and we in no way condone the mass extermination of over 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.”
With Melsbach’s fate now in the hands of U.S. and German prosecutors, we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that a perpetrator of one of the most horrendous crimes in history will be banished from entertainment news television and held responsible for his actions, albeit belatedly. But when it comes to justice, it’s better late than never.