He Was a Teen SS Guard. Now, Consequences

Bruno Dey, 93, receives 2-year suspended sentence for WWII atrocities at Stutthof
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2020 6:55 AM CDT
Guilty Verdict for 'Small Wheel in the Machinery of Murder'
In this Friday photo, Bruno Dey, 93, is seen in a courtroom in Hamburg, Germany.   (Photo/Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa Pool/dpa)

An ex-SS guard who served at a Nazi death camp when he was a teen was found guilty Thursday of being an accessory to 5,232 murders. CBS News reports Bruno Dey, 93, had faced up to 10 years in prison, with prosecutors seeking three. He instead received a two-year sentence, which the court in Hamburg, Germany, suspended due to his health. For about eight months starting in August 1944, when he was 17 and 18, Dey was part of the SS "Death's Head" unit at the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk in Poland. Although he admitted to hearing screams coming from the camp's gas chambers and seeing bodies being brought to be incinerated, Dey insisted he didn't take part directly in the killings and that he'd initially tried to be assigned to a camp kitchen or bakery.

His attorney had also argued that his client didn't have much of a choice in where he was placed and that his own life would've been in peril if he balked. "How could an 18-year-old step out of line in a situation like this?" the lawyer insisted in court. The judge's rebuttal to those claims, per the AP: "How could you get used to the horror?" Prosecutors noted Dey had made sure people couldn't escape the camp and had served as a "small wheel in the machinery of murder." Of the people Dey is accused of murdering, 5,000 or so died of typhoid in the filthy camp, while about 200 were gassed and 30 were shot in the neck. Dey had a belated sorry to offer. "Today, I want to apologize to all of the people who went through this hellish insanity," he said during his closing statement, per NBC News. (More Nazis stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.