98-Year-Old Ex-Nazi Guard Faces Landmark Murder Trial

Landmark trial for 98-year-old former Nazi guard accused of aiding Holocaust murders in Sachsenhausen during WWII

98-Year-Old Ex-Nazi Guard Faces Landmark Murder Trial

Credit: Google | Former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen

In a significant development in the pursuit of justice for Holocaust victims and survivors, a 98-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, known as Gregor F, has been indicted on charges of being an accessory to murder. Gregor F worked at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin between 1943 and 1945, during the darkest days of World War II.

This case, which aims to hold individuals accountable for their roles in the Holocaust, represents a poignant moment in history.

Due to his age at the time of the alleged crimes, the trial is set to take place in a juvenile court in Hanau, near Gregor F’s residence. Thomas Hauburger, Gießen’s chief prosecutor, emphasized that Gregor F, then an adolescent German citizen, is accused of aiding the “cruel and perfidious killing of thousands of prisoners“.

Hans-Jürgen Foster, a lawyer representing a former Sachsenhausen prisoner, Shimon Rothschild, believes that this trial will shine a light on individuals like Gregor F, who may not have directly participated in the killings but played crucial roles in the Nazi killing machine. Foster asserts that prison guards were integral to the hostile conditions that prevailed in the concentration camp complex.

Sachsenhausen, where Gregor F served, imprisoned more than 200,000 individuals, with over half falling victim to murder. The methods of killing included mass extermination in gas chambers and the execution of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war through a systematic program known as Aktion 14f14.

Shimon Rothschild, a survivor of Sachsenhausen, will provide evidence if Gregor F’s trial proceeds. Rothschild and ten other Jewish children endured horrific medical experiments while in Sachsenhausen’s sickbay.

This trial follows in the footsteps of the 2011 trial of John Demjanjuk, a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp. Demjanjuk’s trial set a precedent for pursuing individuals who were previously considered insignificant but integral to the Nazi system, leading to the conviction of a 97-year-old former secretary from Stutthof concentration camp for complicity in 10,500 murders.

Germany’s efforts to bring aging Nazi war criminals to justice continue. In a similar case last year, a 101-year-old former Sachsenhausen guard was sentenced to five years in prison for aiding and abetting the murder of 3,518 people during the Holocaust. Even a 96-year-old German woman, who had fled before standing trial for her alleged role as a stenographer and typist at Stutthof, was later convicted on similar charges.

Sachsenhausen, built by prisoners in 1936, witnessed the deaths of around 100,000 of the roughly 200,000 who passed through the camp. This trial serves as a reminder of the atrocities committed during World War II, with an estimated 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others falling victim to Nazi concentration camps.


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