German court sets trial for 100-year-old alleged Nazi guard

By Joshua Nevett
BBC News

Published
image source, Getty Images
image captionThe Nazi SS imprisoned more than 200,000 people at the Sachsenhausen camp during World War Two

A 100-year-old alleged former guard at a Nazi concentration camp will stand trial in Germany accused of complicity in 3,518 murders, prosecutors say.

The unnamed suspect is accused of assisting in the murder of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin between 1942 and 1945.

His alleged crimes include complicity in executions by firing squad and poisonous gas.

On Monday prosecutors confirmed the man would be fit to stand trial in October.

Prosecutors said the man underwent a medical assessment which, despite his advanced age, deemed him fit to appear in court for two-and-a-half hours per day.

Confirmation of the man's fitness to stand trial was first reported by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.

The newspaper quoted one lawyer, Thomas Walther, as saying many of the complainants were "just as old as the accused and expect justice to be done".

German media say the trial is expected to be one of the last concerning crimes committed during the Nazi era. The survivors and perpetrators are now very old.

About 200,000 people were imprisoned at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945.

Political opponents, prisoners of war and persecuted groups were among those detained there by the SS, Nazi Germany's foremost security agency.

The Sachsenhausen museum says tens of thousands of prisoners died at the camp as a result of hunger, disease, forced labour, extermination operations and other causes.

Germany has been pursuing former Nazi camp workers since a landmark ruling in 2011 that convicted a former guard, John Demjanjuk, as an accessory to mass murder. He died pending an appeal, but the verdict set a legal precedent.

Previously, courts had required evidence of direct involvement in atrocities.

Although the number of suspects in Nazi crimes is dwindling, prosecutors are still trying to bring individuals to justice.

In July 2020, a 93-year-old former concentration camp guard was found guilty of complicity in the murder of more than 5,000 prisoners.

But in March this year, prosecutors said a 96-year-old alleged former camp guard was unfit to stand trial.

You may also be interested in:

media caption"I was a skeleton" - Henri Kichka lost his whole family in Auschwitz

Related Topics

More on this story