Newsdeck

Nazi trials

German court sentences ex-SS camp guard, aged 101, to five years in jail

German court sentences ex-SS camp guard, aged 101, to five years in jail
The Sachsenhausen concentration camp site in Oranienburg, Germany, 27 January 2019. EPA-EFE/HAYOUNG JEON

NEURUPPIN, Germany, June 28 (Reuters) - A German court sentenced a former SS guard, now 101 years old, to five years in prison on Tuesday for assisting in the murder of some 3,500 people at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, bringing to an end one of the last Nazi trials in Germany.

Prosecutors had said that Josef S., a member of the Nazi party’s paramilitary SS, helped to send 3,518 people to their deaths at the Sachsenhausen camp, north of Berlin, by regularly standing guard in the watchtower between 1942 and 1945.

The trial took nearly nine months as doctors had said the man, whose full name was not disclosed due to German trial reporting rules, was only partially fit to stand trial, and sessions were limited to two and a half hours a day.

Some people interned in Sachsenhausen were murdered with Zyklon-B, the poison gas also used in other extermination camps where millions of Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Sachsenhausen housed mainly political prisoners from across Europe, along with Soviet prisoners of war and some Jews.

There has been a spate of charges brought against former concentration camp guards in recent years for World War Two crimes against humanity. In September, a former camp secretary went on the run the day her trial was to begin, but was caught by police hours later.

A 2011 court ruling paved the way for these prosecutions, stating that even those who contributed indirectly to wartime murders, without pulling a trigger or giving an order, could bear criminal responsibility.

Defence lawyer Stefan Waterkamp said his client would appeal Tuesday’s ruling and that a higher court would decide whether “general guard service without concrete participation” provided sufficient grounds for such a verdict.

(Reporting by Reuters TelevisionWriting by Maria Sheehan and Rachel MoreEditing by Gareth Jones)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz