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101-Year-Old Man Sentenced To Jail For Thousands Of Murders During The Holocaust

Rachel Lang

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101-Year-Old Man Sentenced To Jail For Thousands Of Murders During The Holocaust

Featured Image Credit: Al Jazeera/YouTube. Alamy

A 101-year-old man has been sentenced to jail for crimes he committed during his time as a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Josef Schuetz was handed a five year sentence for being an accessory to murder charge for at least 3,500 people during his time at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1942 to 1945.

At 101 years of age, he is the oldest person to have ever faced trial for the atrocities committed by the Nazis in World War II.

He's also the oldest to be found guilty.

Prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany. Credit: Wikipedia Public Domain
Prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany. Credit: Wikipedia Public Domain

Prosecutors also accused him of causing the death of prisoners due to 'the enforcement and maintenance of inhuman conditions'.

Schuetz has repeatedly refuted the claims against him and pleaded his innocence throughout the trial.

"I don't know why I am here," Schuetz said at the closing of his trial, according to France24.

But Judge Udo Lechtermann told the court in Brandenburg, Germany, that Schuetz 'willingly supported the mass extermination' in his ruling.

"For three years, you watched prisoners being tortured and killed before your eyes," Lechtermann said, as per France 24.

"Due to your position on the watchtower of the concentration camp, you constantly had the smoke of the crematorium in your nose," he said.

"Anyone who tried to escape from the camp was shot. So every guard was actively involved in these murders."

Despite claiming that he was never a guard at the infamous death camp, German prosecutors presented evidence that included documents that matched a camp guard with the same name, date of birth, and birthplace of Schuetz.

Public prosecutor Cyrill Klement said the evidence presented has ‘entirely confirmed’ he was an SS guard at the camp, CBS reports.

Prisoners were put to death by gas chamber and firing squad. Credit: Alamy
Prisoners were put to death by gas chamber and firing squad. Credit: Alamy

He was sentenced to five years in jail for the atrocities committed at the concentration camp, however due to his age it is unlikely he will be actually imprisoned for his crimes.

Schuetz's lawyer Stefan Waterkamp told AFP that his client would appeal the case, meaning the sentence cannot actually be enforced until 2023 at the earliest.

CBS News reports that lawyer Thomas Walther, who represented 11 of the 16 parties in the trial, said 'justice has been served' after the sentencing, according to France24.

Antoine Grumbach, 80, whose father died in the Sachsenhausen camp, told DW that he would 'never forgive' the convicted guard as 'any human being facing atrocities [like that] has a duty to oppose them'.

More than 200,000 people, including Jews, Roma, regime opponents, and gay people were detained at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945.

In the final days of the Nazi regime, tens of thousands of prisoners were sent on a forced march.

Many did not survive, with only around 3,400 remaining inmates freed when Soviet troops liberated the camp in 1945.

The concentration camp has since been turned into a museum and memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Topics: World War 2, Crime, News, World News

Rachel Lang
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