A German court has sentenced a former Nazi concentration camp guard to five years in prison.
101 year-old Josef Schuetz maintains he did nothing wrong and was unaware of any crimes being committed at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, where he worked from 1942 to 1945.
According to The Telegraph:
“I don’t know why I am here,” he said at the close of his trial on Monday.
But prosecutors said he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the crimes as a guard at the camp and successfully pushed for a five year sentence.
More than 200,000 people including Jews, Roma, regime opponents and gay people were detained at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945…
The allegations against Schuetz include aiding and abetting the “execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942” and the murder of prisoners “using the poisonous gas Zyklon B”.
He was 21 years old at the time.
During the trial, Schuetz made several inconsistent statements about his past, complaining that his head was getting “mixed up”.
At one point, the centenarian said he had worked as an agricultural labourer in Germany for most of World War II, a claim contradicted by several historical documents bearing his name, date and place of birth.
After the war, Schuetz was transferred to a prison camp in Russia before returning to Germany, where he worked as a farmer and a locksmith.
Schuetz has remained at liberty during the trial, which began in 2021 but has been delayed several times because of his health.
Despite his conviction, he is highly unlikely to be put behind bars given his age. He intends to appeal, his lawyer Stefan Waterkamp told AFP.