Wheelchair-bound 94-year old German on trial for Nazi crimes

A 94-year-old German appeared in court in a wheelchair on Tuesday accused of assisting in the murder of hundreds of people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two, in what is likely to be one of the last such trials.

The man, a former guard in the SS paramilitary wing of Hitler’s Nazis who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied the accusations. He spoke with a hoarse-sounding voice when answering questions about his identity.

The man is 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 museum’s website.

A 94-year-old German appeared in court in a wheelchair on Tuesday accused of assisting in the murder of hundreds of people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two, in what is likely to be one of the last such trials.

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 the West German justice system did little to bring further prosecutions.

The 2011 conviction of Sobibor death camp guard John Demjanjuk 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.

With the number of suspects dwindling due to old age, Brendel, one of Germany’s most active Nazi hunters, said this trial had major historical significance.

“It is important for the victims, their families and survivors. They can make public their fate and help ensure that something like what the Nazis did never happens again,” he said.

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