Trial of former Nazi guard likely won't be restarted

Trial of 95-year-old Johann Rehbogen, a former SS guard in Stutthof, was suspended in December due to health concerns.

Elad Benari ,

Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof concentration camp

The trial in Germany of a former Nazi SS guard, now 95, likely cannot be restarted after it was suspended due to his failing health, JTA reported Monday.

Johann Rehbogen is accused of being complicit in the mass murders of several hundred prisoners at the Stutthof concentration camp. More than 60,000 people were killed at Stutthof during World War II.

In December, his trial was suspended by the judge because Rehbogen was hospitalized with heart and kidney problems.

On Monday, the Muenster state court said it seems unlikely that the trial will be restarted after a doctor determined that he is still unfit to stand trial.

Rehbogen, who uses a wheelchair, was younger than 21 when he worked at the camp between 1942 and 1944 and thus is being tried in a juvenile court in the western German city of Muenster.

The trial started in November and only met twice a week on non-consecutive days to accommodate his age and poor health.

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 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.