German court won’t try suspected former Nazi camp guard, 96

World

BERLIN (AP) — A German court has declined to put a suspected former guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp on trial, citing concerns over the 96-year-old’s health.

The state court in Wuppertal told German news agency dpa on Wednesday that a medical assessment had found the man unfit to face trial.

He was accused of hundreds of counts of being an accessory to murder for allegedly having belonged between June 1944 and May 1945 to an SS unit that guarded the Stutthof camp, and of having accompanied a transport of some 600 people to the Auschwitz death camp.

Initially a collection point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles removed from Danzig — now the Polish city of Gdansk — Stutthof from about 1940 was used as a so-called “work education camp” where forced laborers, primarily Polish and Soviet citizens, were sent to serve sentences and often died.

From mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from ghettos in the Baltics and from Auschwitz filled the camp along with thousands of Polish civilians swept up in the brutal Nazi suppression of the Warsaw uprising.

Others incarcerated there included political prisoners, accused criminals, people suspected of homosexual activity and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

More than 60,000 people were killed there by being given lethal injections of gasoline or phenol directly to their hearts, shot or starved. Others were forced outside in winter without clothing until they died of exposure, or were put to death in a gas chamber.

Last year, a former SS private, Bruno Dey, was convicted at age 93 of more than 5,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving at Stutthof as a guard and given a two-year suspended sentence.

Earlier this year, prosecutors charged the 95-year-old secretary of the former SS commandant of Stutthof with 10,000 counts of accessory to murder, arguing that she was part of the apparatus that helped the camp function.

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