(VitalNews.org) – Prosecutors have filed charges against a 98-year-old man for the part they say he played in running a Nazi concentration camp between 1943 and 1945. The unnamed man faces charges of accessory to murder for his work as a camp guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, a camp which held over 200,000 people prisoner between 1936 and 1945. The former guard, who now lives in the rural Central Germany district of Main-Kinzig, faces 3,300 counts of accessory to murder.
This case is the latest in a series of charges levied against those who helped the Nazis to commit atrocities, whether for taking part in slaughter or for helping to facilitate it through other work – such as guarding a camp. Since 2011, German prosecutors have been tracking down and charging those alleged to have supported the Nazi regime.
One such case involved a 101-year-old man sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for his role in the Holocaust. The man, another former Sachsenhausen concentration camp guard, died while appealing his sentence. He had not yet been jailed.
Under German law, charges of murder, or of being an accessory to murder, have no time limit as they are not subject to a statute of limitations. However, prosecutors may face other difficulties, such as loss of evidence over the course of so many decades, or as in the case of the 101-year-old, a defendant may die of old-age or other causes before ever seeing the inside of a court.
In the case of the 98-year-old former camp guard, who must remain anonymous in accordance with German privacy laws, psychiatrists conducted an assessment of his mental capacity in October 2022. At that time, he was deemed competent to stand trial, although his competence may be limited. There has been no updated assessment made public, and it is not yet clear when the trial may take place.
Sachsenhausen saw 200,000 prisoners pass through its gates, made up of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people, and other political enemies of the Nazi party. Estimates on how many people were killed there, whether through deliberate execution or succumbing to terrible conditions and disease, vary from 40,000 people to 100,000 people.
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