Hamburg juvenile court of Germany, Thursday, convicted and handed a suspended sentence of two years to a 93-year old former SS tower guard for being a ‘small wheel in the machinery of murder’ of the 5,230 people at the Stutthof concentration camp during World War II.
Former Nazi guard Bruno Dey found guilty over mass murder at Stutthof Camp https://t.co/PFBYdm9Sef— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 23, 2020
Germany has no statute of limitations, therefore the nine-month trial of Bruno Dey was held in a juvenile court because he was 17 years old when he served at the concentration camp from 1944 to 1945, this makes the 76 years not relevant in the proceeding of the case. Lars Mahnke, Chief prosecutor, in his closing arguments, said that the accused knew what was happening during those times he served at the camp. As a guard, he had contact with prisoners and he prevented them to escape by guarding actively outside the camp. The prosecutor added that "When you are a part of mass-murder machinery, it is not enough to look away".
Bruno’s lawyer Stefan Waterkamp, in his defense, raised that being an SS guard had never been a crime in Germany before because crimes were carried out by the small core of personnel called “camp SS” who had access to the prisoners. He added that Bruno was a teenager tower guard who could hardly break ranks and clueless to the extent of the sadism and inhumane conditions of the camp. The court, presided by judge Anne Meier-Goering, allowed Dey to give his final statement. He apologized to the victims and their relatives to the “hell” that they went through from this madness. He added that he was “shaken” upon hearing the witness accounts of tens of thousands of people who died from illness, malnutrition, and murder by gas chamber and surprise execution but he refused to recognize his guilt until the end. The accused faced a possible sentence of six months to 10 years in prison.
The Stutthof camp in 1939 was the first to be established by the Nazi regime outside Germany's borders and was set up to detain Polish political prisoners.
Every trial of a former Nazi has been tagged as likely to be the last but a court in the western German city of Wuppertal on Thursday confirmed to NBC News that it had received the prosecution papers for another Stutthof guard last week. This adds up to the dozens of ongoing investigations of the special prosecutor’s office relating to Nazi-era crimes.