Ex-SS guard probably guilty but too ill to stand trial, German court says

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Ex-SS guard probably guilty but too ill to stand trial, German court says

96-year-old Harry S was ordered to pay legal costs after proceedings against him for his role in the Stutthof camp were dropped

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Inside the Stutthof gas chamber
Inside the Stutthof gas chamber

A wartime Nazi camp guard who will not stand trial because of his ill-health is likely to be guilty of aiding and abetting hundreds of murders, a German court has said.

The state court in the western city of Wuppertal announced on Wednesday that it had decided not to put the suspect on trial because of his physical condition.

The 96-year-old, named as Harry S, is accused of being an accessory to hundreds of murders for his alleged membership of the local SS at the Stutthof camp, near Gdansk in modern-day Poland.

But the court added in its statement that there were “very strong suspicions that the accused was guilty of aiding and abetting murder in several hundred concurrent cases”.

He is accused escort at least one transport of prisoners from Stutthof to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Under German law Harry S will have to pay the costs of the legal proceedings against him, the AFP agency said.

The SS unit at Stutthof guarded the camp between June 1944 and May 1945, when the war ended.

It was initially a collection point for residents, many of them Jewish, from the city of Danzig, as Gdansk was then known.

The site later became as “work education camp” where many forced labourers died.

Tens of thousands of Jews from the Baltic region and the Auschwitz death camp were sent there from the middle of 1944 after a gas chamber was installed on the site.

Last year, SS private Bruno Dey, 93, was convicted of over 5,000 counts of accessory to murder for his role as a Stutthof guard.

He received a suspended two-year prison sentence.

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