German court drops case against former Nazi camp guard

Case against former Stutthof guard Johann Rehbogen dropped due to his health.

Elad Benari,

Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof concentration camp
iStock

A German court said on Wednesday it had dropped a case against a former Nazi concentration camp guard, finding the seriously ill 95-year-old unfit for trial, AFP reports.

The guard, Johann Rehbogen, was accused of complicity in mass murder at the Stutthof camp near what was then Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland.

His trial began on November 6, 2018, but was suspended a month later as he suffered from serious heart and kidney problems.

Given the gravity of his ailments, the court in Münster ended the case, deeming him "permanently unfit for trial", according to AFP.

Rehbogen was aged 18 to 20 when he served as a guard from June 1942 to September 1944 at the Stutthof camp.

The German, from the western district of Borken, North Rhine-Westphalia state, was charged with being an accessory to the murders of several hundred camp prisoners, including more than 100 Polish prisoners gassed in June 1944 and "probably several hundred" Jews killed from August to December 1944.

His case is one of many to have been opened against suspected Nazi war criminals in recent years.

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 in June of 2017, before he could serve his jail term.

In a similar case, Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, died in March of 2018 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.




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