Germany: Appeals against conviction of Nazi guard dropped

All appeals against conviction of concentration camp guard Bruno Dey dropped, making the decision legally binding.

Elad Benari ,

Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof concentration camp
iStock

All appeals against the conviction of 93-year-old Nazi concentration camp guard Bruno Dey have been dropped, a Hamburg court said Monday, according to The Associated Press.

This makes the decision legally binding and easing the way for possible future prosecutions.

Dey was convicted last month of 5,232 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court, equal to the number of people believed to have been killed at Stutthof during his service there in 1944 and 1945.

Because he was 17 and 18 at the time of his alleged crimes, Dey’s case was heard in juvenile court and he was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Dey was convicted under new legal reasoning that even though there was no evidence linking him to a specific crime, as a camp guard he was guilty of accessory to murders committed while he was there.

Dey apologized to Holocaust victims before his verdict, saying, "Today I would like to apologize to those who went through the hell of this madness, as well as to their relatives. Something like this must never happen again."

Dey's case extended the argument to apply to a guard at a concentration camp — camps where people were killed by the tens of thousands, but that did not exist for the sole purpose of extermination like the Nazi death camps.

His conviction is now considered legally binding, after his attorney and three people who had joined the trial as co-plaintiffs decided to retract their appeals, the Hamburg state court said.

At the start of the trial, Dey said he was sorry for his actions, though he insisted that he did not join the deadly operation voluntarily.

Dey’s 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.

In April, a German court dropped a case against 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, Johann Rehbogen, finding him unfit for trial due to illness.



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