The latest in a line of convictions of former Nazis in the nation, a German court has found a 101-year-old former concentration camp guard guilty of being an accessory to thousands of deaths and sentenced him to five years in jail.
The 101-year-old man, who has not been recognized, was convicted of 3,518 counts of accessory to murder due to his involvement in the Nazi Sachsenhausen concentration camp during World War II, according to The Independent.
He was charged with participating in the paramilitary activities of the Nazi Party between 1942 and 1945 on the outskirts of Berlin.
The Neuruppin Regional Court jailed the inhabitant of the Brandenburg state for five years on Tuesday (June 28), finding that he participated in the killing of thousands of prisoners.
The man continued to deny being an SS guard at the camp on Monday.
As the proceedings came to a close, the man told the court: “I don’t know why I am here.”
Alleged crimes brought against the man included participating in “execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 194” and the deployment of “poisonous gas Zyklon B”.
“H” claims that at the time of his alleged crimes, he was working as a farm laborer and had “absolutely nothing” to do with the atrocities committed at Sachsenhausen. Prosecutors, however, successfully argued otherwise, stating that the man “knowingly and willingly” participated in crimes as a guard.
The court was handed records for a camp guard who shared the same name, birthday, and place of birth as the accused.
“The court has come to the conclusion that, contrary to what you claim, you worked in the concentration camp as a guard for about three years,” presiding Judge Udo Lechtermann told the man, adding: “You willingly supported this mass extermination with your activity.”
According to The New York Times, the guy was not directly connected to any of the deaths of the camp’s prisoners.
According to reports, the guy was the oldest person to ever stand trial for Nazi war crimes.
If the police try to put him in jail, his attorney has said that his client will challenge the decision.
Due to the man’s advanced age and poor health, authorities would need a medical commission’s statement that he is suitable to be imprisoned.
The Neuruppin regional court has been the site of the trial’s proceedings since October 2021. It is uncertain whether the individual would ever enter a prison cell given that the trial was repeatedly postponed because of issues related to his health.
Although Thomas Will, the director of the German government’s office responsible for looking into crimes committed during the Nazi era, asserts that “murder does not have a statute of limitations,”
“It is what’s right and of course, it would have been what was right 70 years ago,” Will said.
According to The Times, German prosecutors are “racing” to convict any remaining Nazi criminals as they get older and fewer in number.
Even former Nazi concentration camp guards who had no specific crimes against them could be found guilty, according to Germany’s top criminal court.
At the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, thousands of prisoners were put to death while it was run by the Nazis.
The prison was eventually freed by Soviet forces in 1945, with about 3,400 prisoners still alive.