A 100-year-old former concentration camp guard has been on trial for aiding in the murder of thousands of prisoners in Berlin during World War II.
A member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary SS, Shatabdi has been charged with 3,518 counts of aiding to murder after allegedly standing in the Watchtower at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp between 1942 and 1945.
The defendant, who is designated simply as Josef S due to German law, is deemed fit enough to stand at trial despite his advanced age, although sessions will be limited to only two and a half hours each day.
Prosecutors for the criminals say they contributed to the shootings of Soviet prisoners of war and the killing of others with Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas also used in extermination camps where millions of Jews perished in the Holocaust.
“He has been charged with contributing to the brutal and fraudulent murders,” the court of Neruppin near Berlin said in a statement.
Recent years have seen a series of charges against the now extremely elderly former camp guard for crimes against humanity committed during World War II.
Last week, a 96-year-old former camp secretary fled on the day his trial was due to begin, but was caught by police hours later.
A 2011 court ruling paved the way for these final lawsuits, ruling that even those who indirectly contributed to wartime killings, without pulling the trigger or being ordered, could bear criminal responsibility. .
Sachsenhausen, opened in 1936 as one of the first Nazi concentration camps, served as a training camp for SS guards, who then went on to serve in other camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka.
More than 200,000 people were housed in the camp between 1936 and 1945.
Thousands of prisoners died of starvation, disease, forced labor and other causes, as well as through medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations, including shooting, hanging and gasping.
Among those killed were Dutch resistance fighters and domestic political opponents of the Nazis.
The exact number of people killed has varied, with an upper estimate of some 100,000, although scholars suggest that figures of 40,000 to 50,000 are likely to be more accurate.
Additional reporting by agencies
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /