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Trial ordered for 100-year-old death camp guard

August 1, 2021

The accused worked as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen death camp near Berlin from 1942 to 1945. The elderly man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will face trial in the fall.

Tens of thousands of prisoners died at SachsenhausenImage: Paul Zinken/dpa/picture alliance

A 100-year-old former guard at the Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp will stand trial in the fall, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported on Sunday.

The district court of Neuruppin, a town in the eastern state of Brandenburg, recognized the charges of accessory to murder in some 3,500 cases. The trial is scheduled to start in October.

Despite his age, the defendant should be able to take part in proceedings for up to two and a half hours per day, a court spokesman told the German newspaper.

Horrors at the camp near Berlin

The accused, who was not named for legal reasons, worked as a prison guard at Sachsenhausen from 1942 to 1945.

Tens of thousands of the more than 200,000 prisoners interned at the camp died as a result of hunger, disease, forced labor and mistreatment or "were victims of systematic extermination operations by the Nazis," according to the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum website.

The death camp in Oranienburg, just outside Berlin, was in operation from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945.

Landmark 2011 case

Prosecutors are still trying to bring a handful of Nazi-era suspects to justice some 76 years after World War II ended.

A landmark case in 2011 paved the way for more prosecutions when a Munich court ruled that working in a concentration camp was enough for a conviction, even if there was no proof of a specific crime.

John Demjanjuk was a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was convicted in 2011 on almost 30,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Memories of the Holocaust

jsi/mm (Reuters, EPD)