Germany charges aged Nazi concentration camp guard for Holocaust atrocities

Ever since German courts amended gave an expanded interpretation of was guilt over Nazi atrocities, several people aged 90 and over have been charged. 

German prosecutors have charged a former SS concentration camp guard with the aiding and abetting of 3,518 murders. The man’s charges include “knowingly and willfully” and “material and intentional” contributions to the killings of millions of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, North Berlin where he served as a guard.

The murdering took place between January 1942 and February 1945, based on the prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin, Brandenburg. To adhere to Germany’s privacy laws, his name has not been publicly disclosed. 

Now aged 100 years old, prosecutors in the city of Neuruppin charged the German man with accessory to murder on 3,518 counts. Sachsenhausen was a notorious camp where thousands of prisoners would be sent to be executed. The labor camp was notorious for its medical experiments carried out as a template for using gas chambers that preceded the industrial-scale extermination of millions of people in Auschwitz, modern-day Poland. 

At the time the Red Army and Polish soldiers made their way to the camp, only three thousand prisoners remained alive. It is believed over 10,000 prisoners perished at the camp. 

The camp held many political prisoners including jews, gays, and Roma. Over its time under Nazi control, it is believed over 200,000 prisoners went through its doors. Reports from Germany’s regional broadcaster NDR say that the Brandenburg prosecutors believe the man is eligible to stand trial despite his age. 

Other cases

To date, several other elderly members of the Nazis have been charged. Bruno Dey, a 93-year-old man was charged with 5230 counts of accessory to murder, committed while at the Stutthof concentration camp. He was later found guilty on 5232 of those.

Prosecutors in Itzehoe brought the charges of “aiding and abetting murder” in over 5,230 murders while working as a guard at the camp. Given he was only 17 years old when he served as a camp guard, he faced a juvenile court. An estimated 65,000 people were killed at the Stutthof concentration camp. 

It was just last week when 95-year-old Irmgard F, a secretary to the SS commander at the Stutthof camp was also charged as an “accessory to murder” of 10,000 people. She was also tried in juvenile court given her age at the time of service was 21. She served as a secretary at the nazi concentration camp between the years 1943-45. Investigations into her case began in 2016, and German prosecutors have been interrogating witnesses in Israel and Germany. 

Pursuit of Justice

The German justice system shielded the prosecution of low-level guards involved in the atrocities of the holocaust. Everything changed in 2011 with the conviction of John Demjanjuk who served as a guard at Sobibor death camp in Nazi-controlled Poland. He was found guilty and convicted of 28,000 of accessory to murder. 

DW reports that Christoph Heubner, the vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee in Brandenburg described the case as an “important example” to the elderly survivors of the holocaust perpetrators that “Justice has no expiration date.”

Ph: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

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