The trial of a 100-year-old man has commenced in Germany over the accusation of being an accomplice in a murder while serving as a Nazi SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp close to Berlin during World War II.
The trial of the former Nazi guard, who is charged with 3,518 counts of accessory to murder, took place at the Neuruppin state court, where the proceedings were moved to a prison sports hall in Brandenburg for organizational reasons.
According to allegations, the suspect, identified only as Josef S. in keeping with German privacy rules, worked at Sachsenhausen between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing.
His lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, told the German court that his client didn’t want to talk about the allegations. There are no formal pleas in the German legal system.
Authorities reveal that the defendant is certified fit enough to stand trial in spite of his age, however, the number of hours per day the court will be in session will be limited.
Between 1936 and 1945, over 200,000 people were held at Sachsenhausen. A lot of inmates died of starvation, forced labor, disease, shootings, hangings and gassing.
The numbers of those killed vary. While some estimates revealed 100,000, some scholars suggest figures of 40,000 to 50,000 and these figures are likely more accurate.
While talking to the court, prosecutor Cyrill Klement said: “The defendant knowingly and willingly aided and abetted this at least by conscientiously performing guard duty, which was seamlessly integrated into the killing system.”