BERLIN (Reuters) - A 93-year-old former guard at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz will go on trial in Germany in April on charges of being an accessory to the murder of at least 1,075 people, a German court announced on Friday.
The accused was a member of the Nazi SS guard team at Auschwitz in occupied Poland from November 1942 to June 1943, a court spokesman in the western city of Hanau near Frankfurt said, adding that the man had been deemed fit for trial.
Although the former guard is not accused of having been directly involved in any killings, the prosecution’s office holds that he was aware of the camp’s function as a facility for mass murder.
By joining its organizational structure, he consciously participated and even accelerated the deaths of hundreds of people, the prosecutors say.
German court rulings have established a precedent for the conviction of Nazi concentration camp employees for being guilty of accessory to murder.
Last year, 94-year-old Oskar Groening, known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, was sentenced to four years in prison after he was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people in Auschwitz.
Three other cases involving death camp employees are pending trial in German courts.
In the northern city of Kiel, 92-year-old Helma M. is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 260,000 people in Auschwitz.
In her case, the defense maintains that the accused is unfit for trial. A final court ruling on this is expected in the coming weeks, a court spokesman said on Friday.
In the western town of Detmold, 94-year-old Reinhold H. is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people in Auschwitz and has been deemed fit for trial. The former guard will go on trial on Feb. 11, a court spokeswoman said.
In the northeastern town of Neubrandenburg, a 95-year-old former paramedic at Auschwitz will go on trial on Feb. 29 after a court deemed him fit for trial in December. Hubert Z. is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,681 people.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber,; Editing by Dominic Evans