100-year-old German man to stand trial for Nazi crimes

A 100-year-old German man accused of working as a concentration camp guard from 1942 to 1945 has been ruled “fit to stand trial” in October.

The unidentified centenarian is accused of “knowingly and willingly” being a party to 3,518 deaths, according to the Guardian. Prosecutors claim the suspect, believed to be from Brandenburg, stood guard at the Sachsenhausen camp north of Berlin. He is accused of complicity in the 1942 slaughter of Soviet captives by firing squad as well as the gassing of other prisoners.

More than 200,000 people were detained in Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. By some estimates, half that number died there, though historians believed the number of dead is closer to 45,000. Jewish prisoners taken in 1938′s Kristallnacht were brought to the camp, which largely housed political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals up to that point. Jews at Sachsenhausen were sent to Auschwitz in 1942, the Guardian said.

In 2011, German authorities successfully prosecuted prison guard John Demjanjuk — an Ohio auto-worker who fled to the U.S. after the war and became a citizen in 1958. He died in a German nursing home at 91 while his conviction for being part of an operation responsible for genocide was being appealed. With that precedent in place, German officials aggressively stepped up its pursuit of Nazi war criminals. A 96-year-old woman accused of being a secretary for an SS officer goes on trial in September for complicity in the death of 10,000 people in the Stutthof concentration camp.

An attorney representing victims in the case against the 100-year-old man, whose identity is protected by German law, hopes justice will be served while there’s still time.

“Several of the co-complainants are just as old as the accused and expect justice to be done,” that lawyer said.

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Written by Thathsara


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