WW2 Nazi guard, 101, charged with 3,518 murders says he did 'nothing'June 27, 2022
101-year-old Nazi guard charged over the murder of 3,518 prisoners at WW2 camp where ‘cruellest methods of extermination were invented’ insists he ‘did absolutely nothing’
- Josef Schuetz, 101, was a guard at Sachsenhausen extermination camp in WW2
- He is oldest person to face trial for Nazi crimes committed during the Holocaust
- The camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, was said to be an ‘experimental camp’
- Schuetz said, ‘I don’t know why I am here,’ and said he wasn’t aware of crimes
- He didn’t ‘want to remember’ said Holocaust survivor Antoine Grumbach, 80
A Nazi concentration camp guard, aged 101, charged with murdering thousands of prisoners during the Second World War insisted he did ‘absolutely nothing’ at his trial today.
Josef Schuetz is the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi war crimes committed during the Holocaust.
At his trial in Germany today, June 27, he again denied being complicit in war crimes during the Holocaust as his trial drew to a close.
Josef Schuetz, 101, is the oldest person so far to face trial over Nazi war crimes committed during the Holocaust. Pictured: Schuetz at his trial in Germany in December last year
Prosecutors say Schuetz ‘knowingly and willingly’ participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars. Pictured: Holocaust survivor Leon Schwarzbaum holds a picture in the courtroom during the trial at the Landgericht Neuruppin court in in October last year
What is the history of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and how many people were killed there?
The front gate of Sachsenhausen
- Built in the summer of 1936 by internees from other camps
- First concentration camp built after Himmler was made chief of police
- More than 200,000 people were interned between 1936 and 1945
- Prisoners included political opponents and those deemed ‘racially inferior’ such as such as Jews, Sinti and Roma, and people persecuted as homosexuals
- Prisoners forced to work in factories
- 13,000 Soviet prisoners, including many Jews murdered in autumn 1941
- A gas-chamber was built in Spring
Schuetz is accused of involvement in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.
Sachsenhausen was said to be an ‘experimental extermination camp’ where the ‘cruellest methods’ were invented.
The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, has pleaded innocent throughout the trial.
He insisted to the court that he did ‘absolutely nothing’ and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.
‘I don’t know why I am here,’ he said again at the close of the proceedings, his voice wavering.
Dressed in a grey shirt and pyjama bottoms and sitting in a wheelchair, Schuetz insisted he had had nothing to do with the atrocities and said he was was ‘telling the truth’.
Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in Sachsenhausen, said that Schuetz ‘does not want to remember’, calling it ‘a form of defence’.
The trial was not just about ‘putting a centenarian in prison’, he said. It had also produced evidence that Sachsenhausen was an ‘experimental extermination camp’.
‘All the cruellest methods were invented there and then exported,’ Grumbach said.
Prosecutors say he ‘knowingly and willingly’ participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and are seeking to punish him with five years behind bars.
But Schuetz’s lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that since there were no photographs of him wearing an SS uniform, the case was based on ‘hints’ of his possible involvement.
‘As early as 1973, investigators had information about him but did not pursue him. At the time, witnesses could have been heard but now they are all dead or no longer able to speak,’ Waterkamp said.
It would be a mistake for the court to try to ‘make up for the mistakes of a previous generation of judges’, the lawyer said.
The verdict is expected tomorrow, Tuesday June 28.
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