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101-Year-Old Security Guard Sentenced To Prison

Due to the criminal's old age, however, he is unlikely to be imprisoned.

[ODUNEWS] June 28 – Josef Schuetz, 101, a former Sachsenhausen (SS) concentration camp guard, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison by the in Brandenburg an der Havel for murder. Schuetz was specifically accused of complicity in murder in 3,518 cases, within the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, north of Berlin, Germany.

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A 101-year-old former security guard of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp appears in the courtroom before his trial verdict at the Landgericht Neuruppin court, in Brandenburg, June 28, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANNEGRET HILSE)

 

 

Mr. Schuetz, you were active for about three years in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where you were an accomplice to the mass murders,” said the president of the court, Udo Lechtermann. “You were aware that prisoners had been killed there. By your presence, you supported [it]. Anyone wanting to flee the camp was shot. Thus, any camp guard actively participated in these murders.”

On Monday, Schuetz’s attorney used “well-worn arguments against Nazi war crimes trials taking place at this late date in Germany,” according to the Simon Weisenthal Center, “his client was not a high-ranking officer, others of higher rank were not prosecuted, and his identity was not proven beyond a doubt.”

Schuetz pleaded “not guilty,” throughout the trial, which began in May 2022.

Schuetz acted like the victim

According to Dr. Epraim Zuroff of the center, “The real drama came from the accused, who cried as if he were the real victim and said that he had no connection to the crimes perpetrated in the camp. Not one word from him about the suffering and the tragedy of the prisoners.”

Schuetz is considered to be the oldest person to stand for trial over participation in Nazi war crimes during the Holocaust.

Sachsenhausen, a German Nazi concentration camp, was active between 1936 and 1945. The camp was mainly a prison for political prisoners such as Joseph Stalin’s oldest son, prime ministers from European countries and their families. The Sachsenhausen camp had an active gas chamber and an area where medical experimentation took place. In 2009, 83-year-old Josias Kumpf was deported from Wisconsin back to Austria after it was made known that he was a SS Guard at Sachsenhausen and Trawniki camps.

Prosecuting former Nazis used to be more difficult

“I’m happy that he got the maximum sentence for service in an SS camp,” Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post after leaving the courthouse on Tuesday. He explained that until 13 years ago, in order to prosecute former Nazi soldiers “you needed to prove it was a crime against a specific victim and that it was on racial background,” which Zuroff said, “made it almost impossible to prosecute anyone.” 

 

Yet Zuroff explained that the law was changed and since there have been many Nazi perpetrators sentenced who served in camps with high mortality rates.

The chances for him to sit in jail are slim because he is 101,” Zuroff said. “I want to see an element of punishment in addition to the verdict. The passage of time doesn’t diminish his actions. These trials help fight holocaust denial and distortion.”

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