Nazi Crime: New Charges Against Former SS Guards

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The public prosecutor’s office in Dortmund has brought charges against two men who had belonged to the SS guards in the National Socialist concentration camp Stutthof. They are accused of murder.

The entrance to the former concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk. The entrance to the former concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk.

More than 72 years after the end of the Second World War, there could be a further trial in Germany for Nazi crimes : the public prosecutor’s office in Dortmund filed charges against two former SS men who had been members of the guards at the concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk. A 92-year-old from Wuppertal and a 93-year-old from the Borken district is accused of aiding and abetting the murder of several hundred people. The Münster district court must now decide on the opening of a procedure.

Both men were responsible both for the guarding of the camp and for the supervision of labor commands outside the camp, according to a statement of the district court Münster. On 21 and 22 June 1944 more than 100 Polish prisoners were murdered in the gas chamber in Stutthof. A little later, at least 77 wounded Soviet prisoners of war and several hundred Jews were killed in the same way. In the camp itself, the living conditions at the behest of the SS leadership and the camp management had been so bad that several hundred prisoners died of diseases such as typhus and typhus or by lack of medical care, the prosecutors emphasized. Inmates not classified as “fit for work” were killed by shots. More than 140 people, including many Jewish women and children, were murdered through injections.

Defendants admitted guard duty in Stutthof

The prosecutors assume that the two defendants knew all this – and that they were aware that “in this way and with this regularity, it could only be killed if the victims were guarded by assistants like them”. The two men have admitted to have been guards in Stutthof, but they deny having participated in the murder of the prisoners. Of the 110,000 prisoners in the concentration camp, at least 65,000 died. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the first prisoners were taken to the Stutthof camp, mainly Polish intellectuals from Gdansk. In 1944, deportation trains from Hungary arrived there, Stutthof became one of the crime scenes of the mass murder of European Jews.

Another former SS man charged in Frankfurt

In the names of the two men who were now being charged, the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes had come to Ludwigsburg, as it evaluated lists of SS guards. After the trial of the former SS guard in Sobibor, John Demjanuk, and especially after the final verdict against the former “Auschwitz accountant” , Oskar Gröning, the investigators had begun to search for other guards.

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