The fight for justice can take decades, but when it finally happens, it may be a relief for many. The families of victims of the Holocaust have received some justice as a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard has been sentenced to prison by a German court.
According to CNN, the former guard, whose name has not been made public in accordance with Germany’s privacy laws, was sentenced to five years in prison. This is for aiding and abetting the murder of 3,518 people during the Holocaust. Reports show the former guard was charged in 2021 with “knowingly and willfully” aiding and abetting the killing of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg.
The prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin, in the northeastern state of Brandenburg, stated the crimes were committed from January 1942 to February 1945. The court spokeswoman Iris le Claire suggests the court took the victims who died under the former guard’s watch into account. Under German law, people found guilty of murder are typically sentenced to between three and 15 years in prison.
Iris le Claire advised CNN about the complex process of the former guard’s trial. “It was extraordinarily difficult to find an appropriate punishment because the acts took place a very long time ago, and the perpetrator is already very old. All of this had a mitigating effect on the sentence,” she said.
In addition, under the sentencing, the charges included involvement in the shooting of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942 and aiding and abetting the murder of prisoners through poisonous gas. Other shootings and the killing of prisoners to create and maintain hostile conditions at the camp also occurred.
Josef Schuster, President of The Central Council of Jews in Germany, acknowledged the ruling stating, “Even if the defendant will probably not serve the full prison term due to his advanced age, the verdict is to be welcomed.” He continued, “The thousands of people who worked in the concentration camps kept the murder machinery running. They were part of the system. Therefore they should also take responsibility for it. It is bitter that the defendant has denied his activities at that time until the end and has shown no remorse.”
Roommates, what do you think of this sentencing?
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