Trial of Nazi death-camp guard stops due to health problems

The defendant, a German who cannot be named for legal reasons, is no longer considered to be fit to stand trial, partly due to heart problems, according to a medical report.

By REUTERS
February 25, 2019 16:46
2 minute read.
Trial of Nazi death-camp guard stops due to health problems

Visitors gather on the grounds of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

MUENSTER, Germany - The trial in Germany of a 95-year-old former guard at a Nazi death camp has been stopped because of the defendant's health problems, likely ending one of the last such prosecutions linked to the Holocaust.


The defendant, a German who cannot be named for legal reasons, is no longer considered to be fit to stand trial, partly due to heart problems, according to a medical report, a court in the western city of Muenster said on Monday.
The trial had been temporarily suspended since mid-December because of the defendant's ill health. The court intends to halt the trial for good following the new medical examination.


The court has given prosecutors, joint plaintiffs and the defense a chance to make a statement on the medical exam and is expected to make a final decision on the case around mid-March.


The defendant first appeared in court in Muenster in November accused of assisting in the murder of hundreds of people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two. A former guard in the SS paramilitary wing of Hitler's Nazis, he denied the charges.


The man was accused of knowing about killings between 1942 and 1944, when he served in the Stutthof camp, near what is now the Polish city of Gdansk. About 65,000 people, including many Jews, were murdered or died there, according to the Stutthof museum's website.


During the trial, the wheelchair-bound man told the court that he never was a Nazi and that he was not indifferent to the sufferings of inmates.


"I want to say clearly that I am not a Nazi, never was and in the little time that I still have to live, will never be," the defendant declared in a statement read out by one of his attorneys early during the trial.


He said he was ashamed while being in Stutthof and that he himself lived there in fear. He acknowledged that he never expressed criticism.


The defendant was tried in a youth court as he was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes. He would have faced a sentence of 10 years prison had he been convicted.


Chief Prosecutor Andreas Brendel, one of Germany's most active Nazi hunters, faced the defendant in court as he said the man was accused of taking part in several hundred murders. "People were killed with a shot in the back of the head. People were left to starve, to freeze.


From the opening of the trial on Nov. 6, court sessions were limited to a maximum of two hours a day because of the defendant's physical frailty.


After several sessions he did not appear any more in court for medical reasons.


Some 21 Nazi leaders, including Hermann Goering and Rudolf Hess, were put in the dock at an international military tribunal in 1945-1946, known as the Nuremburg trials, but for decades the West German justice system did little to bring further prosecutions.


The 2011 conviction of Sobibor death camp guard John Demjanjuk, however, gave impetus to prosecutions against junior ranking individuals in the Nazi death machine. That was the first time working in a camp alone was sufficient grounds for culpability, with no proof of a specific crime.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump
July 19, 2019
Trump says U.S. will talk to Britain after Iran seizes oil tanker

By REUTERS

Cookie Settings