In Germany, the trial continues, which considers the case of 101-year-old Josef Schutz, reports The Guardian. This is the oldest person accused of complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust: in 1942-1945, Schutz served as a guard in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and, according to the prosecution, participated in the murders of thousands of prisoners.
Sachsenhausen, on the gates of which hung a sign "Work sets you free", functioned in the German city of Oranienburg from 1936 to 1945. Over the years, more than 200,000 people have been prisoners of the concentration camp, among whom were Jews, gypsies, opponents of the Nazi regime, and gays. About 100,000 people are said to have died from hard labor, medical experiments, starvation or disease before Sachsenhausen was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945.
Josef Schutz is accused of aiding and abetting the execution of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942, as well as the murder of prisoners in gas chambers using the poisonous pesticide Zyklon B. In total, Schutz is charged with participating in the murders of 3,518 prisoners.
During an interrogation about working at the camp, Schütz claimed he was unaware of what was going on there and did "absolutely nothing". However, the Brandenburg state prosecutor's office stated that he participated in the crimes "knowingly and voluntarily" and asked for a five-year prison sentence for him. Throughout the trial, 101-year-old Schutz is at large and will remain there even if he is found guilty, due to his age. Lawyers representing the interests of civil plaintiffs believe that, regardless of the outcome, the fact that justice is being done is very important.
More than 70 years after the end of World War II, trials continue in Germany, in which the last surviving Nazi criminals are accused. The precedent was the case of John (Ivan) Demjanjuk, a former Sobibór guard who was sentenced in 2011 on the grounds that he was part of a Nazi killing machine. This case paved the way for other similar processes. Auschwitz accountant Oskar Groening and Auschwitz concentration camp guard Reinhold Hanning were convicted of participating in the massacres at the age of 94. Both died before they went to jail. Another guard, 93-year-old Bruno Day, was sentenced to two years of probation in 2020.
The verdict against Schütz is due in early June.