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Ex-SS camp guard, aged 100, on trial for 3,518 deaths By Reuters

© Reuters. One hundred-year-old ex-security guard at Sachsenhausen concentration camp is seen in court before his trial at Landgericht Neuruppin, Brandenburg, Germany on October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse


By Annegret Hilse

NEURUPPIN (Germany) – On Thursday, a former SS Guard, who is now 100 years of age, walked into a German courtroom with a walking frame to answer charges that he helped to kill more than 3,000 Nazi prisoners in a concentration camp.

Josef S. was a paramilitary SS member who, between 1942 and 1945, stood guard at the watchtower. This, the prosecution claims, led to the deaths in Sachsenhausen of 3,518 prisoners.

According to doctors, the man’s full identity was withheld due to German trial reporting regulations. Sessions will only last two hours per day.

While his client was being brought to the Neuruppin court, in Berlin, by his lawyer, he held up a folder that contained a picture of his client.

ZyklonB was used for the execution of some Sachsenhausen prisoners. This poison gas was also used in extermination camps, where many Jews died in the Holocaust.

Sachsenhausen held mainly political prisoners from Europe as well as Soviet prisoners-of-war and some Jews.

It is a lot emotion… “It’s a lot emotion…” said Antoine Grumbach, 79. He then abruptly left as he was overwhelmed by emotions. In the camp, his father, a French Resistance fighter, was killed.

Leon Schwarzbaum (100 years old) sat still waiting for the trial in the courtroom to begin. He showed reporters a picture of himself with his uncle and parents, all of whom died at Auschwitz.

Josef S. was accused of being a “contributor to cruel and insidious deaths” through his involvement in creating and maintaining life-threatening conditions within the camp.

Recent cases against ex-concentration camp guards have resulted in a flurry of accusations for World War Two human rights crimes. Last week, a 96-year-old former camp secretary went on the run the day her trial was to begin, but was caught by police a few hours later.

These final prosecutions were made possible by a 2011 court decision that stated that anyone who indirectly contributed to wartime killings without triggering a trigger or giving an instruction could be held criminally responsible.

Sachsenhausen was established in 1936 and became one of the earliest Nazi concentration camp. It served as a training ground for SS guards, who later went on to other Nazi camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka. Other victims of Sachsenhausen were Dutch resistance fighters as well as domestic political enemies.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.