German court gives 101-year-old ex Nazi guard five years in jail


A German court on Tuesday handed a five-year jail sentence to a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, the oldest person so far to go on trial for complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust.

Josef Schuetz was found guilty of being an accessory to murder in at least 3,500 cases while working as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945. He is highly unlikely to be put behind bars given his age.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, had pleaded innocent, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and had not even worked at the camp. “I don’t know why I am here,” he said at the close of his trial on Monday.

But presiding judge Udo Lechtermann said he was convinced Schuetz had worked at Sachsenhausen and had “supported” the atrocities committed there.

“For three years, you watched prisoners being tortured and killed before your eyes,” Lechtermann said. “Due to your position on the watchtower of the concentration camp, you constantly had the smoke of the crematorium in your nose,” he said.—AFP

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