German Court Convicts 93-Year-Old Man for Nazi Crimes

BERLIN (Reuters) -
The 93-year-old German Bruno D. accused of being an SS guard involved in killings of thousands of prisoners, many of them Jewish, between August 1944 and April 1945, in the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp near Gdansk, Poland, arrives for expecting his verdict in his trial, in a Hamburg court room, Germany, Thursday. (Reuters/Fabian Bimmer/POOL)

A court in Hamburg on Thursday convicted a 93-year-old German man of helping to murder 5,232 prisoners, many of them Jewish, at a Nazi concentration camp in World War II and handed him a suspended two-year sentence.

In one of the last cases against Nazi-era crimes, Bruno D., who was an SS guard in the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk, in what is today Poland, was found guilty of being involved in killings between August 1944 and April 1945.

He had acknowledged his presence at the camp but argued that did not amount to guilt. As he was only 17 or 18 years old at the time of the crimes, he was subject to youth sentencing guidelines. Under German rules for court cases, the suspect’s full name is not published.

In his final testimony to the court earlier this week, Bruno D. apologized for the suffering victims went through but stopped short of taking responsibility, German media reported.

“I would like to apologize to all the people who have gone through this hell of insanity and to their relatives and survivors,” he told the court this week, broadcaster NDR and many other media outlets reported.

The defendant’s frail health has meant that court sessions were limited to two to three hours per day.

Although the number of suspects is dwindling due to old age, prosecutors are still trying to bring individuals to justice. A landmark conviction in 2011 opened the way to more prosecutions as it was the first time that working in a camp was sufficient grounds for culpability, with no proof of a specific crime.