In Germany, a 100-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard begins his trial

The Nazi party’s paramilitary SS member was accused by prosecutors of aiding and abetting the deaths of 3,518 prisoners at Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

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To be held accountable for his role in the killings of more than 3,000 people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two, a now 100-year-old former SS guard will stand trial in Germany on Thursday.

According to the prosecution, the guy, a Nazi party paramilitary SS member, stood watch in the Sachsenhausen watchtower between 1942 and 1945 and contributed to the murders of 3,518 people.

As a result of German rules on criminal trial reporting, doctors have determined that the guy is only partially able to stand trial, with sessions each day being limited to two and a half hours.

Prosecutors allege that he was involved in crimes such as the shooting of Soviet POWs and the use of Zyklon-B poison gas, which was also used in extermination camps during the Holocaust to kill millions of Jews.

As the court in Neuruppin, near Berlin, put it: “He is accused of contributing to cruel and diabolical deaths.” They also alleged he helped “create and maintain life-threatening circumstances in the camp.”

Nazi party's paramilitary SS

In recent years, numerous prosecutions have been brought against now-extremely-old former camp guards for World War Two crimes against humanity. A 96-year-old former camp secretary eluded capture by authorities on the day of her trial, only to be apprehended hours later.

Even individuals who contributed indirectly to wartime deaths without drawing the trigger or delivering an order can be held criminally responsible, according to a 2011 court judgement.

For SS guards who would go on to work at other Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka, Sachsenhausen served as a training ground. Others who perished at Sachsenhausen were members of the Dutch resistance movement and Nazi opponents on the home front.

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