Ex-SS Guard: I Knew Camp Was Bad, but I Didn't Do Bad Things

Johann Rehbogen, 94, is on trial in Germany for being an accessory to murder at Stutthof
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2018 9:10 AM CST
Ex-SS Guard: I Knew Camp Was Bad, but I Didn't Do Bad Things
Johann Rehbogen, a 94-year-old former Nazi camp guard, waits for the beginning of the third day of his trial at the regional court in Muenster, western Germany, on Tuesday.   (Guido Kirchner/pool photo via AP)

(Newser) – A 94-year-old former SS guard says he was aware of the terrible conditions endured by prisoners in the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland, but he claims he didn't take part in atrocities against them. The statement came in the third day of his trial, which opened last week. The DPA news agency reports that Johann Rehbogen, who's on trial facing hundreds of counts of accessory to murder, told the Muenster state court he didn't oppose his posting to the camp from 1942 to 1944 out of fear for retribution, the AP reports. More than 60,000 people were killed at the Nazi camp built east of Danzig, which is today the Polish city of Gdansk.

Per CBS News, prisoners were killed in a variety of gruesome ways, including by starvation, in the gas chamber, by being shot, from exposure to the cold, or even by having gasoline injected into their hearts. Prosecutors argue that as a guard there, Rehbogen helped the camp operate. But Rehbogen says not only did he not participate in any killings, he also didn't know about them. CBS notes that precedent in holding concentration camp guards responsible for prisoners' deaths was forged in 2011, when Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk was convicted as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp. He died in 2012 before his appeal could be heard. (Two famous Nazi hunters were recently honored.)

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