February 10, 2021
FILE – The main gate in the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp, now a memorial, is seen in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, Germany, Feb. 7, 2020. PHOTO: AFP
By VOA News
German prosecutors announced Tuesday they have charged a 100-year-old man with being an accessory to 3,518 murders committed while he was allegedly a guard at the Sachsenhausen World War II concentration camp outside of Berlin.
Neuruppin prosecutor Cryll Klement told the Associated Press that the man, whose name is being withheld under Germany’s privacy laws, is alleged to have worked at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing.
Klement, who led the investigation, said that despite his advanced age, the suspect is considered fit enough to stand trial, though accommodations may have to be made to limit how many hours per day the court is in session.
The prosecutor said the Neuruppin office was given the case in 2019 by the special federal prosecutors’ office in Ludwigsburg charged with investigating Nazi-era war crimes.
The charges come less than two weeks after prosecutors in the northern town of Itzehoe filed similar charges against a 95-year-old woman who worked during the war as the secretary to the SS commandant of the Stutthof concentration camp.
Chief Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, told the AP the two new cases serve as “vital reminders to the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.” He said the advanced ages of these defendants “is no excuse to ignore them and allow them to live in the peace and tranquility they denied their victims.”
The Sachsenhausen concentration camp was established near Berlin in 1936 and was one of the first such camps established by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The camp was notorious for early experiments in the killing of inmates by gas in what became a trial run for the murder of millions in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.