Juvenile in 1944, ex-Nazi camp guard, 93, gets suspended sentence

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jul 23, 2020, 04:55 PM IST
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Being 17 or 18 years old at the time of the murders, Bruno has been charged with youth sentencing guidelines, while the prosecutors are calling for atleast a three-year prison sentence.

A 93 year old German man has been convicted of Nazi crimes on Thursday. He has been handed a suspended two-year sentence for helping with murders of 5,232 prisoners, mainly Jewish, at a Nazi concentration camp in World War II.

Bruno D. was an SS guard (Schutzstaffel) at the Stutthof concentration camp near Poland (then known as Gdansk). 

He has been charged of assisting in murders between August 1944 and April 1945. While Bruno has confirmed that he was present at the camp during that time, he has argued that he did not participate in the killings and his presence, simply, did not count as guilt.

Being 17 or 18 years old at the time of the murders, Bruno was sentenced under juvenile guidelines, while the prosecutors called for atleast a three-year prison sentence.

As the former guard's health is not at its best, the court sessions limited it to only two to three hours per day. 

In the session, he apologised for the general suffering that the camp 'prisoners' went through. “I would like to apologise to all the people who have gone through this hell of insanity and to their relatives and survivors,” he told the court. However, he did not admit to being a part of the killings — which was nearly 65,000 people.

Prosecutors have argued that many of these 65,000 people were shot in the back of the head or gassed with the lethal Zyklon B gas.

The Hamburg court is trying to bring justice to the people who lost their lives and/or their loved ones in the holocaust, even though many of the suspected individuals are now in old age. The court hearings started after a landmark conviction in 2011 opened the way to more prosecutions as it was the first time that working in a camp was sufficient grounds for culpability, with no proof of a specific crime.