Former Nazi guard in Polish death camp charged with 5,230 counts of accessory to murder
German prosecutors have charged a 92-year-old former guard at Stutthof death camp near the Polish city of Gdansk, with being an accessory to murder, in what will be one of the last ever cases against Nazi-era war crimes.
Hamburg prosecutors accused the Nazi, identified as Bruno Dey, of aiding and abetting 5,230 cases of murder during the almost nine months he spent on duty at a death camp watch-tower at the end of World War Two.
Prosecutors said the man, who was aged 17-18 at the time and would, therefore, be tried as a juvenile, was “a little wheel in the machinery of murder” which saw thousands of people shot dead, poisoned or starved toward the end of the war.
German daily Die Welt reported that the suspect acknowledged to investigators he was aware of the camp’s gas chambers and saw bodies taken to the crematoriums, but denied being a supporter of Nazi ideology and expressed regret for the fate of Jews.
“What good would it have done for me to leave? They’d just have found somebody else,” he told prosecutors, according to the newspaper.
“I felt bad for the people there. I didn’t know why they were there. I knew that they were Jews who had committed no crime.”
With only a handful of people involved in Nazi Germany’s genocidal crimes still alive, all in extreme old age, prosecutors are racing against time to ensure at least some justice is done by the victims, including the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
The case against another nonagenarian former guard at Stutthof, where more than 60,000 people were murdered, was halted last year because the suspect was too infirm to stand trial.
Another, Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” for his job counting cash stolen from people sent to the most notorious of all the regime’s death camps, died last year aged 96 as he waited to begin his sentence.