101-Year-Old Former Nazi Guard Jailed For Five Years In Germany

Josef Schuetz, 101, has been convicted of 3,518 counts of accessory to murder for serving at the Nazi Sachsenhausen concentration camp during the Second World War.

Josef Schuetz, 101, has been convicted on 3,518 counts of accessory to murder
Josef Schuetz, 101, has been convicted on 3,518 counts of accessory to murder

The Neuruppin Regional Court sentenced 101-year-old Josef Schuetz to five years in prison.

Mr Schuetz denied working as an SS guard at the camp and denied aiding and abetting the murder of thousands of prisoners that were killed there.

In the trial, which began in October last year, Schuetz claimed to have worked as a farm labourer near Pasewalk in north-eastern Germany during the period in question.

The court was satisfied that it had proven that Mr Schuetz did indeed work at the concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party's paramilitary wing.

Judge Udo Lechtermann said: "The court has come to the conclusion that, contrary to what you claim, you worked in the concentration camp as a guard for about three years." He said that in doing so, Mr Schuetz had assisted in the terror and murder committed by the Nazis.

Mr Lechtermann added: "You willingly supported this mass extermination with your activity,"

Josef Schuetz to five years in prison
Josef Schuetz to five years in prison

The prosecution provided the court with documents relating to an SS guard with the same name, place of birth, date of birth, and other documents as Mr Schuetz.

The defendant was only able to stand trial for short periods of time due to health reasons. The trial had to be delayed several times for hospital trips and other health issues.

Sachsenhausen was built in 1936 just outside of Berlin as the first new camp after Adolf Hitler gave the SS full control of the Nazi concentration camp system.

Between 1936 and 1945 more than 20,000 people were held captive there. Out of those prisoners, tens of thousands died of starvation, disease, forced labour, medical experiments, and SS executions that included gassing, hanging, and shooting.

As in most concentration camps at the time, Jewish prisoners received particularly brutal treatment at Sachsenhausen, most of them that were still alive by 1942 were sent to the Auschwitz death camp.

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