Tuesday September 21, 2021

Nazi camp guard, 100, to stand trial in Germany

AFP
August 03, 2021

Frankfurt: A 100-year-old former concentration camp guard will stand trial in Germany in October accused of complicity in 3,518 murders, public prosecutors announced on Monday.

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. Hearings will be limited to two-and-a-half hours per day, according to prosecutors.

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".

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

The Nazi SS detained more than 200,000 people at the concentration camp during its lifetime, of which 20,000 are thought to have been killed. Germany has been hunting down former Nazi staff since the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, on the basis the guard served as part of the Nazi killing machine, set a legal precedent.

Since then courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly linked to the individual accused. 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".