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Court rules former Auschwitz guard to stand trial

February 5, 2016

A district court in Germany has ruled a man who served as a concentration camp guard is fit to stand trial. He is accused of assisting in the murder of over a thousand people during the Holocaust.

Auschwitz concentration camp
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Leonhardt

A geriatric man who once stood guard at Nazi Germany's most notorious concentration camp has been ordered to stand trial.

The district court in the western German town of Hanau said on Friday that the 93-year-old, whose name has been with withheld in compliance with the country's privacy laws, will go to court sometime in April.

The man is accused of assisting in the murder of some 1,075 people during World War II. Specifically, he's accused of having worked as a security guard in the dock to three deportation trains at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. According to the indictment, he worked there from November 1, 1943, to June 25, 1945.

Delayed justice

Because the defendant was a young man at the time, the trial will take place in Hanau's juvenile court. The defendant will not spend more than four hours in court each day.

The case is but one of several across Germany that are putting a renewed focus on crimes committed during the Nazi era. This month will see the opening of two trials for former SS operatives in Detmold and Neubrandenburg.

An estimated 1.1 million people perished in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, most of them Jews. Toward the end of the war, the camp served as the Nazi's main death camp.

blc/sms (AFP, dpa)