In this undated file photo from 1979, a former inmate of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, gazes down at ruins of gas chambers.

Germany Arrests 3 Elderly Men Suspected of Being Auschwitz Guards

Renewed efforts to convict former Nazis elicit arrests.

In this undated file photo from 1979, a former inmate of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, gazes down at ruins of gas chambers.

A former inmate of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland, gazes down at ruins of gas chambers.

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After raiding the homes of nine elderly men, German police arrested three who are suspected of being former guards at a Nazi concentration camp.

The three men ages 88, 92, and 94 were taken from their homes in southwest Germany on Thursday, to await trial.

The men are accused of being guards at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, located in Poland, where more than 1.1 million people were murdered from its establishment in 1940 through 1945, Agence France-Presse reports.

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"Given the advanced age of the defendants, every effort should be made to expedite their prosecution," Efraim Zuroff of Israel's Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center said according to The Associated Press. "The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers."

The prosecution is working to uncover enough evidence to arrest a number of other suspected concentration camp guards, Claudia Krauth, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Stuttgart, Germany told the AP.

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The renewed effort to bring former Nazis to justice was sparked by the May 2011 trial of a Nazi guard John Demjanjuk. Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born mechanic, was suspected of working as a guard at a concentration camp. Though he denied the allegations, saying he had been mistaken for someone else, he was tried in Munich, Germany.  The court decided that working at a concentration camp made the individual an accessory to murder, even if one did not directly participate in the killing of those at the camps, the BBC reported. Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison for being an accessory to murder and his case set the precedent for future Nazi guard cases. He died in 2012 while his case was on appeal. 

After Demjanjuk’s trial, German authorities announced they would recommend charging nearly 30 people suspected of being former Auschwitz guards.