During the Second World War, Schwammberger was a commander of various SS forced-labor camps in the Kraków district (late August 1942 until spring 1944). From 1948 until 1987, Schwammberger lived in hiding in Argentina. Finally, in 1987 he was extradited to Germany; his capture cost the German state of Baden-Württemberg just under 500,000 Deutschmark.
At his trial, which lasted nearly a year, (1991 until 1992) Schwammberger denied being guilty of the crimes of which he was charged; he simply admitted that "Ghetto A" was taken to the Przemyśl camp. On May 18, 1992, he was condemned by the Stuttgart regional court (Landgericht) to life imprisonment, which he was to serve in Mannheim. He was found guilty of seven counts of murder and 32 counts of accessory to murder.
In August 2002, the Mannheim regional court declined a parole request due to the unusual cruelty of his offenses; he had been found guilty of carrying out arbitrary murders based on racial hatred against Jewish people.
The main person responsible for bringing him to justice was Simon Wiesenthal.
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