100-Year-Old Former Nazi Guard Goes on Trial Over Charges for 3,518 Deaths

A 100-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard goes on trial on Oct. 7 in Germany for assisting in the murder of 3,518 prisoners at Sachsenhausen during World War II.

The suspect, identified only as Josef S due to privacy laws, faces war crime charges for allegedly aiding and abetting in the shooting of Soviet prisoners of war and the murder of others in gas chambers.

“The accused knowingly and willingly supported this, at least through conscientious guard keeping, which was incorporated seamlessly into the killing system,” Public Prosecutor Cyrill Klement said.

Josef is the oldest Nazi-era defendant to stand trial so far. He was considered able to appear in court for up to two and a half hours a day.

A total of 22 trial dates have been scheduled until January.

Josef’s lawyer Stefan Waterkamp told the court that the defendant would not comment at the trial on the allegations against him, but would respond to personal details at a hearing on Oct. 8.

Thomas Walther, the lawyer for the co-plaintiffs who include survivors of Sachsenhausen, said that he hoped Josef would change his mind and explain himself.

Holocaust survivor Leon Schwarzbaum attended the trial, which he said was “the last trial for my friends, acquaintances, and my dear ones who were murdered, at which the last guilty parties will hopefully be convicted.”

Over 200,000 people were held at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen near Berlin between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands of the prisoners were killed in mass shootings or in gas chambers while others died due to disease, hunger, forced labor, medical experiments, and maltreatment.

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