Germany: 100-year-old to go on trial for Nazi-era crimes

·2-min read
Germany: 100-year-old to go on trial for Nazi-era crimes
Germany: 100-year-old to go on trial for Nazi-era crimes

A 100-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard will stand trial for Nazi-era crimes on 12 October 2021. He will be the oldest person to face such charges on Nazi-era crimes. Josef S is on the list for knowingly assisting in the killings of 3518 prisoners at Sachsenhausen camp. The incident took place between 1942 and 1945.

Charges on him include assisting and abetting the “killing by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942” and murdering detainees “with the toxic chemical Zyklon B.” Seven decades post World War II, German prosecutors are still racing to bring the last surviving Nazi perpetrators to justice. Thomas Walther, a lawyer representing several camp survivors and victims’ relatives in the case, says 76 years on from the war, such trials are necessary.

A medical evaluation in August determines Schuetz is okay to face trial. However, the Neuruppin court will limit his hearings to a few hours each day. Due to the interest in the case, Schuetz arrived with a walking aid for the proceedings, which were conducted in a sports hall. The trial will run through early January.

Germany: 100-year-old to go on trial for Nazi-era crimes
Germany: 100-year-old to go on trial for Nazi-era crimes

If guilty, he is unlikely to be put behind bars looking his age

“He is not charged with shooting anyone in particular. But of having contributed to these acts through his work as a guard. Also, having been aware such killings were happening at the camp,” says a court spokeswoman.

During 1936 and 1945, the Nazi SS guard worked at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. It held over 200,000 people, including Jews, Romans, regime opponents, and LGBT people. Schuetz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, says his client has stayed silent so far on the charges against him. Schuetz remains free during the trial. If guilty, he is unlikely to be put behind bars looking his age.

Schuetz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, says his client has stayed silent so far on the charges against him. Schuetz remains free during the trial. If guilty, he is unlikely to be put behind bars looking his age.

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