October 17, 2019 / 10:50 AM / 2 months ago

Former concentration camp guard, 93, goes on trial in Germany

The 93-year-old German Bruno D. arrives for his trial in Hamburg court, Germany, October 17, 2019, accused of being an SS guard and involved in killings between August 1944 and April 1945, helping to murder thousands of prisoners, many of them Jewish, in the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp near Gdansk, Poland. Daniel Bockwoldt/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - A 93-year-old former concentration camp guard arrived in court in a wheelchair on Thursday, in what could be one of Germany’s last trials of Nazi war crimes.

Bruno D., whose surname cannot be given for legal reasons, is accused of being an accessory to 5,230 murders in the final months of World War Two.

He was part of a force manning the watchtowers in Stutthof concentration camp, near what is now the city of Gdansk in Poland, prosecutors say.

He was 17 and 18 at the time of the alleged offences, so the nonagenarian will be tried in a youth court.

Wearing a broad-brimmed hat, the defendant tried to shield his face behind a red folder as an official wheeled him into the Hamburg courtroom for the start of his trial.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly Jews, died at the camp during the six years of its existence. Many were murdered in its gas chamber while others succumbed to hunger, sickness and exhaustion.

Descendents of survivors were expected to fill the court’s public galleries.

Prosecutors argue that as a guard he was an accessory to murder through the act of stopping inmates escaping from the camp, which was one of the last to be liberated in 1945.

Broadcaster NDR reported there are around 29 open cases in Germany against people accused of being involved in the Holocaust, in which Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime murdered more than 6 million Jews.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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