Former Nazi death camp guard charged with accessory to murder

German prosecutors charge 95-year-old with more than 36,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Mauthausen camp.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Mauthausen concentration camp
Mauthausen concentration camp
iStock

German prosecutors on Friday charged a 95-year-old man with more than 36,000 counts of accessory to murder over his alleged time as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II, AFP reported.

The accused has been identified only as Hans H. The allegations against him concern atrocities committed at the Mauthausen camp in Austria, the Berlin public prosecutor's office said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

Hans H. is believed to have belonged to the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (Death's Head Battalion) between summer 1944 and spring 1945 at Mauthausen, part of the Nazis' vast network of concentration camps where inmates were forced to perform slave labor.

Prosecutors argue that by working as a guard at the site, the accused contributed to tens of thousands of prisoner deaths.

During his time at the camp, at least 36,223 inmates died. Guards took part in killings by gas, fatal injections, gunfire and other means, while many more prisoners died of hunger or frostbite, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors argue that the accused contributed to tens of thousands of prisoner deaths

"The accused is believed to have been aware of all the methods of killing as well as the disastrous living conditions of the inmates," their statement said.

"It is believed that he knew these methods of killing were used against a large number of people and that they could only be killed in this way, with this degree of regularity, if the victims were guarded by people like him."

A total of 200,000 people were held at Mauthausen, half of whom died before the camp's liberation by US troops in May 1945.

A Berlin court must now decide whether the case against Hans H. can proceed, noted AFP.

In recent years, Germany has begun a crackdown on Nazi war criminals. The crackdown began following the 2011 Munich trial of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi war criminal charged of assisting in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp and sentenced to five years. He died in 2012.

Some of those convicted of Nazi-era war crimes never served their sentences as they passed away before being jailed.

One such convict, Reinhold Hanning, was found guilty of complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz. However, Hanning died at the age of 95 last year, before he could serve his jail term.

In a similar case, Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, died in March before he could begin serving a four-year prison sentence after being convicted for the crime of accessory to the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz.

Earlier this month, a former Nazi concentration camp guard, Johann Rehbogen, went on trial in the western city of Muenster accused of complicity in mass murder at the Stutthof camp in occupied Poland.

In September, a former SS guard, now 94, went on trial on charges of complicity in the mass murders of several hundred prisoners at the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)



top