Nazi camp guard, 100, to stand trial for complicity in 3,518 murders

100-year-old Nazi camp guard will stand trial in Germany accused of complicity in 3,518 murders

  • The man, who has not been named under German law, will stand trial in October 
  • Medical assessment confirmed he is ‘fit to stand trial’ despite his advanced age
  • However, the trial will be limited to two to two-and-a-half hours each day
  • The man is said to have worked at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin from 1942 to 1945 as a member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing
  • He is accused of assisting in the murder of prisoners at the camp, including Soviet prisoners killed by firing squad and murders using poisonous gas

An 100-year-old former concentration camp guard will face trial in October accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,518 people.

The accused, who has not been named in accordance with German law, is said to have worked at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin from 1942 to 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing.

Around 200,000 people were imprisoned in the camp, tens of thousands of whom were killed.

The man’s trial is slated to start in October after the prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin, which first brought the charges in February, received a medical assessment which confirmed the man is ‘fit to stand trial’ despite his advanced age.

A spokesman from the Neuruppin district court told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that the defendant should be able to stand trial for two to two-and-a-half hours a day.

The suspect is accused of ‘knowingly and willingly’ assisting in the murder of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

He is accused notably of complicity in the ‘execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942’ and the murder of prisoners ‘using the poisonous gas Zyklon B’.

An 100-year-old former concentration camp guard will face trial in October accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,518 people. Pictured: An undated photo of a roll call in front of Sachsenhausen camp, where the defendant is said to have worked [File photo]

The accused, who has not been named in accordance with German law, is said to have worked at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp (pictured in 2020) near Berlin from 1942 to 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing 

Thomas Walther, a lawyer representing a number of the victims in the case, told Welt am Sonntag: ‘Several of the co-complainants are just as old as the accused and expect justice to be done.’  

The Neuruppin office was handed the case in 2019 by the special federal prosecutors’ office in Ludwigsburg tasked with investigating Nazi-era war crimes.

The court in Neuruppin is based northwest of the town of Oranienburg, where Sachsenhausen was located.

The defendant is said to live in the state of Brandenburg outside of Berlin, local media reported. 

While the number of suspects in Nazi war crimes is dwindling, prosecutors are still working to bring individuals to justice.

The landmark conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 cleared the way for more prosecutions as working in a concentration camp was for the first time found to be grounds for culpability with no proof of a specific crime.               

In July, German authorities confirmed they were investigating a 95-year-old man for his role as a Nazi guard at a prisoner of war camp where many Soviet soldiers died during World War II.

At the end of March, prosecutors announced they had dropped a case against a 95-year-old former Nazi death camp guard recently deported by the United States, due to a ‘lack of sufficient suspicion’.   

Thomas Walther, a lawyer representing a number of the victims in the case, told a German newspaper: ‘Several of the co-complainants are just as old as the accused and expect justice to be done.’ Pictured: A man walks through the gate of the former Sachsenhausen Nazi camp in 2019. The camp is now a museum

A 96-year-old woman is due to go on trial in late September in the northern German town of Itzehoe. 

The woman, who allegedly worked during the war as the secretary for the SS commandant of the Stutthof concentration camp, has been charged with over 10,000 counts of accessory to murder earlier this year.  

Sachsenhausen was established in 1936 just north of Berlin as the first new camp after Adolf Hitler gave the SS full control of the concentration camp system. 

It was intended to be a model facility and training camp for the labyrinthine network that the Nazis built across Germany, Austria and occupied territories. 

Tens of thousands of inmates died of starvation, disease, forced labour, as well as through medical experiments and systematic extermination operations including shootings, hangings and gassings.

Exact numbers on those killed vary, with upper estimates of some 100,000, though scholars suggest figures of 40,000 to 50,000 are likely more accurate.

The man’s trial is slated to start in October after the prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin, which first brought the charges in February, received a medical assessment which confirmed the man is ‘fit to stand trial’ despite his advanced age. Pictured: An empty square at Sachsenhausen in April 2020

In its early years, most prisoners were either political prisoners or criminal prisoners, but also included some Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals. 

The first large group of Jewish prisoners was brought to the camp in 1938 after the Night of Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht, an antisemitic pogrom.

During the war, Sachsenhausen was expanded to include Soviet prisoners of war – who were shot by the thousands – as well as others.

As in other camps, Jewish prisoners were singled out at Sachsenhausen for particularly harsh treatment, and most who remained alive by 1942 were sent to the Auschwitz death camp.

Sachsenhausen was liberated in April 1945 by the Soviets, who turned it into a brutal camp of their own.

The camp is now a museum. 

Source: Read Full Article