What is likely to be one of the last trials of a former Nazi guard kicks off Thursday in juvenile court in Germany. Bruno Dey is 93 and in poor health, per Deutsche Welle, but prosecutors say that in the height of World War II, he was a 17-year-old SS sharpshooter capable of climbing up and down the watch towers at the Stutthof death camp in what is now Poland. Some 120,000 prisoners were held there, and more than half would die. Dey, whose name was found on SS clothing in Stutthof’s archives in 2016, is charged as an accessory to murder in 5,230 deaths—5,000 attributed to hostile conditions, 200 to gassing, and 30 to a fatal shot—between 1944 and 1945, reports the BBC. His case is being heard in juvenile court due to his age at the time.
Though he's admitted to seeing "emaciated figures" and "people who had suffered," Dey denies that he "knowingly supported" the murders of Jewish prisoners or "carried out execution orders," as prosecutors allege, per Deutsche Welle and the Local. As Dey sees it, there was little the teen could do to stand up to Adolf Hitler's regime when he was sent to the camp rather than the war front, owing to a heart disease. As Dey's health is poor, there's a risk his trial will be halted. Per the BBC, a 95-year-old former Stuffhof guard was charged with accessory to murder in 2018 but then hospitalized and deemed permanently unfit to stand trial. For now, twice-a-week hearings are limited to no more than two hours each. (Cousins separated during the Holocaust only just reunited.)