Man, 98, Charged as Accessory to Murder at Nazi Camp

German was said to have worked at Sachsenhausen concentration camp as a juvenile
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2023 10:57 AM CDT
Man, 98, Accused of Being Ex-Nazi Guard Faces Charges
Wreaths at the memorial wall of the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg, Germany, on April 18.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

A 98-year-old man has been charged in Germany with being an accessory to murder as a guard at the Nazis' Sachsenhausen concentration camp between 1943 and 1945, prosecutors said Friday. The German citizen, a resident of Main-Kinzig County near Frankfurt, is accused of having "supported the cruel and malicious killing of thousands of prisoners as a member of the SS guard detail," prosecutors in Giessen said in a statement, per the AP. They didn't release the suspect's name. He's charged with more than 3,300 counts of being an accessory to murder between July 1943 and February 1945.

The indictment was filed at the state court in Hanau, which will now have to decide whether to send the case to trial. If it does, he will be tried under juvenile law, taking into account his age at the time of the alleged crimes. Prosecutors said that a report by a psychiatric expert last October found that the suspect is fit to stand trial, at least on a limited basis. German prosecutors have brought several cases under a precedent set in recent years that allows for people who helped a Nazi camp function to be prosecuted as an accessory to the murders there without direct evidence that they participated in a specific killing.

Charges of murder and being an accessory to murder aren't subject to a statute of limitations under German law. More then 200,000 people were held at Sachsenhausen, just north of Berlin, between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands died of starvation, disease, forced labor, and other causes, as well as through medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations, including shootings, hangings, and gassing. Exact numbers for those killed vary, with upper estimates of some 100,000, though scholars suggest figures of 40,000 to 50,000 are likely more accurate.

(More Germany stories.)

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