Former SS Nazi guard, 100, pleads not guilty to charges over WWII deaths
Oct. 8 (UPI) — A 100-year-old former Nazi SS guard pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of being an accessory to thousands of deaths during his time as a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp between 1942 and 1945.
“I didn’t do anything at Sachsenhausen. I am not guilty because I know nothing about it,” the man, identified only as Josef S., told the court during the second day of his trial, according to DPA.
The trial began Thursday in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, west of Berlin.
The defendant, who faces more than 3,500 charges, is believed to be the oldest person ever to be tried for Nazi-related crimes, the Wall Street Journal reported.
He hid his face behind a blue folder during his court appearance and was declared mentally and physically fit to stand trial for two hours at a time. The trial could stretch into early 2022.
Judge Udo Lechtermann questioned the man about his childhood and youth in Lithuania, his time as a prisoner of war and his life in Germany.
The suspect’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said he would not speak about his life during World War II.
Prosecutor Cyrill Kement argued that the defendant’s actions were intentional and motivated by malice. He described the murders of inmates at Sachsenhausen, which was established in 1936 and held more than 200,000 people during the war.
The trial is the latest among several recent efforts to hold people accountable for their roles in the Holocaust.
In September, a 96-year-old former secretary at a Nazi camp in Poland was captured after trying to flee on the day of her trial. Irmgard Furchner was accused of being an accessory to 11,000 deaths of Jewish and Polish prisoners.
In February, 95-year-old Tennessee resident Friedrich Karl Berger was deported to Germany because of his participation in Nazi-sponsored persecution while serving as an armed guard of Neuengamme Concentration Camp.