March 27, 2023

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100-year-old German ex-concentration camp guard goes on trial for Nazi crimes | The world

Time is up: in a few years no one will be punished under the Nazi regime because the defendants will no longer live, or at least will not face trial.

At the moment, German justice is in charge 17 suspects, none of whom are under 95 years of age.. As of this Thursday (7), a The man of the century who was a guard From the Sachenhausen concentration camp.

Check out the 2018 video of another former Nazi concentration camp guard being interrogated.

The investigation of a former Nazi concentration camp guard begins

The Ministry of Public Works alleges that he participated “consciously and voluntarily” in the killing of prisoners between 1942 and 1945 – in legal terms, this is a question Complicit in murder in 3,518 cases.

Surely, the accused would have been He was responsible for the shooting deaths of Soviet prisoners of war and for being complicit in the gas chamber killings. Other camp inmates may have lost their lives “by creating and maintaining conditions hostile to existence”.

Hidden in military archives in Moscow

During the Nazi era, the Sachenhausen camp in Oranyanburg, north of Berlin, played a special role: since its opening in 1936, Model for its other installations. It later became the administrative center of the entire concentration camp and the training center for the Nazi paramilitary organization SS (“Schutzstaffel”).

Map of Camp Sachenhausen near Berlin – Photo: G1 Mundo

In total, more than 200,000 people were detained in the camp. Tens of thousands have been shot, gassed, subjected to horrific medical tests or inhumane conditions. In late April 1945, while the Red Army was in Orionburg, the SS forced more than 30,000 prisoners into “death marches”, leaving thousands unscathed.

He explains to DW why the case against Attorney General Thomas Wilman is now ongoing: “Until the so-called Red Army’s ‘draft files’ in the state are investigated, the defendant is completely unknown to us.” We handed it over to the public prosecutor.

Will Ludwigsburg runs the Nazi Crime Clarification Center in Baden-Wர்டrttemberg. Since its inception in 1958, the Bureau has been collecting information for initial investigations into Nazi criminals.

Murder is not recommended

For actions that took place 80 years ago, does it make sense to sue at the centenary of someone who was a relatively small piece in the gigantic hooks of a Nazi death machine? In the opinion of Thomas Will, yes.

“On the one hand, the German Judicial Secretaries’ Conference decided in June 2015 that the Ludwigsburg plant would remain in its current form until criminal proceedings were instituted, that is, the perpetrators,” he explains. .

“On the other hand, The law excludes restrictions on the number of murders, especially in the context of Nazi mass crimes, ”he continues.

However, after the conviction of former policeman John Demjanjuk in 2011, the notion of what constitutes such personal offenses has changed in judicial practice. Until then, evidence of direct personal involvement in deaths was a prerequisite for a criminal case. Former concentration camp guards already participated in trials for Nazi crimes in the 1960s and 1970s, but only as witnesses.

What changed ten years ago is that the practice of the operation, “in a torture camp, can justify the punishment for being complicit with them if the findings support this thesis during the authorized acts of formal homicide, during major operations”.

The Temjanjuk case paved the way for new sentences

John Demjanju was sentenced to 91 years in prison in Munich at the age of 91 for complicity in more than 28,000 murder cases. The verdict said he was part of a Nazi extermination machine.

Since then, many men have been convicted because, according to the courts, they saw the crimes as guards by their actions, and knew the murders were being committed properly or fed the prisoners and mistreated them with the intent to cause their death (“consciously and intentionally”).

The latest verdict came in July 2020, when a Hamburg state court sentenced him to two years in prison on parole for complicity in 5,232 murder cases, and a former guard at the Stuttof camp near Gdansk. At the time, he was 93 years old.

Whether or not some of the remaining inquiries lead to trials will depend on the participation of the accused seniors. Doctors say the 100-year-old ex-guard could appear in court in two to two and a half hours starting this Thursday. Trials are scheduled for January 2022. Defendant will have a special rest room.

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