Germany Tries 94-Year-Old Accused of Helping Nazis in Camp Murders

Reuters
By Reuters
November 6, 2018Worldshare

MUENSTER, Germany—A 94-year-old wheelchair-bound man appeared in court on Oct. 6 accused of helping to murder hundreds of people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two, in what is likely to be one of the last such trials.

The man, a former guard in the SS paramilitary wing of Hitler’s Nazis who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied the accusations. He spoke with a rough voice when answering questions about his identity.

The 94-year-old wheelchair-bound man in court
The 94-year-old wheelchair-bound man appeared in court in Muenster, Germany, on Nov. 6, 2018. (Guido Kirchner/Pool via Reuters)

He is being tried in a youth court because he was under 21 at the time of the suspected crimes at the camp near what is now the Polish city of Gdansk. Hearings will last a maximum of two hours per day because of the man’s fragile health.

The former guard is accused of knowing about mass killings between 1942 and 1945, when he served in the Stutthof camp where about 65,000 people died—some in gas chambers, some by poisonous injection, and others of cold.

Lawyers Juergen Foecking and Andreas Tinkl in court
Lawyers Juergen Foecking (L) and Andreas Tinkl (R) for the 94-year-old man appear in court in Muenster, Germany, on Nov. 6, 2018. (Guido Kirchner/Pool via Reuters)

The prosecutor told the court that the suspect had known about the gruesome methods used for killing victims, including shootings, freezing, and starvation. The suspect looked down when the prosecutor mentioned the lethal gas Zyklon B.

Germany has a patchy record in prosecuting war criminals, with many high-ranking Nazis and SS members escaping justice, but in the last decade some prosecutors have stepped up efforts to bring more junior members of the Nazi death machine to trial.

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