Former Concentration Camp Guard Convicted Of Assisting In Thousands Of Murders
A German court has convicted a 93-year-old man for assisting in thousands of murders committed at a Nazi concentration camp where he served as a guard during the last years of World War II.
In a Hamburg court on Thursday, Bruno Dey was given a two-year suspended sentence for his role in more than 5,200 murders committed at the Stutthof concentration camp while he served as a guard, beginning in 1944.
Because he was 17 years old when he started working at the camp, Dey was tried in a juvenile court.
Prosecutors had called for for a three-year sentence for Dey, who guarded a tower at Stutthof. They argued that even as a guard, Dey aided the Nazis as a "small wheel in the machinery of murder," as The Associated Press reported.
The defense had argued for acquittal, with Dey maintaining that although he served as a guard, he was not directly responsible for any of the killings. Dey admitted to having seen the camp's emaciated prisoners, the BBC reported, and knew of its deadly gas chambers.
In her verdict, Judge Anne Meier-Göring echoed the prosecution's argument, telling Dey that he had been complicit.
"The concentration camp Stutthof and the mass murder that took place inside was only able to take place with your help," Meier-Göring said, The Guardian reported.
Given the age of the survivors and perpetrators, the trial is likely one of the last of its kind to take place. Throughout the proceedings, Dey heard from survivors of the camp. There were about three dozen co-plaintiffs, most of them survivors, involved in Dey's trial.
In his final statement to the court, according to dpa, Dey apologized "to all the people who went through this hellish madness and to their relatives and descendants."
The BBC added that Dey said had been "shaken" by witness accounts but said he had been unaware of the "extent of the atrocities."
Established near Gdansk, Poland, Stutthof was designated a concentration camp in 1942. In total, more than 60,000 people died at the camp before it was liberated by Soviet forces on May 9, 1945.