A 100-year old former SS guard is facing trial in Germany for his alleged role in the murder of more than 3,000 people dating from his time as a guard at the Nazi concentration camp.
Germany is racing to bring the last surviving perpetrators of Nazi war crimes—now well into old age—to justice.
The accused allegedly worked as a prison guard from 1942-1945, during which time tens of thousands of prisoners died due to forced labour, hunger, disease, medical experiments and mistreatment.
More than 200,000 people were interned at the concentration camp between 1936 and 1945.
According to the indictment reported by CNN, the defendant was accused “of having aided and abetted cruel and insidious murder.”
His charges included “shooting of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942, aiding and abetting the murder of prisoners through the use of poison gas, as well as other shootings and the killing of prisoners by creating and maintaining hostile conditions in the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp.”
Despite his age, the man has been deemed able to stand trial. The court has scheduled a total of 22 trial dates, with each hearing expected to last between two and two and a half hours a day.
According to Thomas Will, head of Germany’s central office for investigating Nazi crimes in Ludwigsburg, prosecutors spent 18 months investigating the man.
“We collected evidence from various sources. The name of the man showed up during searches in Sachsenhausen and the Moscow Military Archives,” Will was quoted as saying in an interview with CNN.
“We looked at the time period where this man was stationed at and deployed to and collected all the evidence needed to pass the information along to the local prosecutor’s office,” he added.
According to Will, there are only seven cases with local prosecutors.
“Just last week there were eight cases with local prosecutors. It’s a race against time,” he said.
“However, here at our central office for investigating Nazi crimes, we are still assessing more cases, if they can be passed onto local prosecutors. All we can do now is to help out with our investigations to bring those people to trial who have committed Nazi war crimes,” he added.