Germany sentences 101-year-old ex-Nazi camp guard to five years in prison

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A German court has convicted a 101-year-old former concentration camp guard of complicity in thousands of murders and sentenced him to five years in prison – the latest in a string of trials of ex-Nazis in the country.

The centenarian – who maintained his innocence throughout his trial at Neuruppen state court in East Germany – was convicted on Tuesday of more than 3,500 assistant counts of murder.

Prosecutors accused him of being affiliated with Thousands of Jews were killedand political prisoners and other minorities persecuted by the Nazis in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1942 to 1945.

“You have willingly supported this genocide with your activity,” a judge told the man on Tuesday, as his verdict was read in a gymnasium in the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, where he lives.

It is alleged that a 100-year-old ex-Nazi guard will stand trial on thousands of counts of complicity in a murder.

The man, known internationally as Joseph Schweitz And like Joseph S. in Germany due to privacy laws, he has He repeatedly denied the allegations He claimed he was an agricultural worker in a different region of the country at the time, according to Deutsche Welle. He was not identified at sentencing hearing.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” Schweitz said on the last day of his trial, according to to Agence France-Presse. His attorney, Stephen Waterkamp, ​​did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. Watercamp told AFP earlier that he would Appeal of conviction.

According to Deutsche Welle, Schuetz is Try the oldest person ever in Germany for complicity with Nazi crimes during World War II.

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as such The Post previously reportedSchwitz’s recent trial and conviction reflects “how law enforcement officials are racing against time to lock down some Holocaust survivors and their families, as more and more Nazi individuals and their victims die of old age.”

A 96-year-old ex-secretary of the Nazi camp was supposed to stand trial. I tried to escape instead.

Throughout Schwitz’s trial, which began in October and was interrupted several times due to his apparent ill health, prosecutors relied on old identity documents to build a case that he was a Nazi guard in Sachsenhausen between 1942 and 1945, during which time they alleged he aided and abetted the murders of various groups of Prisoners were shot and poisoned gases, according to to Agence France-Presse.

Tens of thousands of people died in SachsenhausenIt is a forced labor and death camp where Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, and other persecuted minorities were shot dead and gas chamber. The camp was liberated by Soviet troops in April 1945.

Schwitz said during his trial that he did not know what was going on in the concentration camp and gave conflicting accounts of his whereabouts during World War II, AFP reported.

“The court came to the conclusion that, contrary to what you claim, you worked in the concentration camp as a guard for about three years,” Judge Udo Lichtermann was quoted by the German news agency (dpa).

A former German court formed in 2011 with a conviction John Demjanjuk91, is accused of being an accomplice in 28,000 murders while working as a guard at the Nazi German-run Sobibor concentration camp in occupied Poland.

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The court’s decision paved the way for convictions that were largely based on whether the accused had served in the Nazi death camp where the crimes took place. Prosecutors previously had to prove that the accused committed specific crimes against someone – a higher threshold, given the alleged events that took place decades ago. Demjanjuk who Died in 2012He denied that he was a guard.

While elderly people convicted of being ex-Nazis are not usually expected to spend time in prison, some argue That their prosecution and conviction can restore a measure of justice to the descendants of their victims, and ensure that their crimes do not go unacknowledged.

In another high-profile case, Irmgard Forechner, She started the race hours before her trial last yearstill awaiting verdict.

The 97-year-old worked as a secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp between 1943 and 1945. At just 18 years old, Forchner became the private secretary to camp commandant Paul Werner Hoepe. She is accused of complicity in murder in 11,380 cases.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, Furchner married a former SS officer after the war and allegedly kept in touch with Hoppe and a former concentration camp executioner. Throughout her trial, she contested her innocence, arguing that she had no say in where she was assigned during the war.

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Andrew Jeong and Florian Neuhof from Berlin contributed to this report.

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