WATCH: 101-year-old Nazi camp guard sentenced to 5 years in jail
Josef Schuetz was found guilty of being an accessory to murder in at least 3,500 cases while working as a guard at a Nazi camp
101-year-old Josef Schuetz worked as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp Photo: AFP
Josef Schuetz, a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role in war crimes committed during the Holocaust.
A German court on Tuesday found Schuetz guilty of being an accessory to murder in at least 3,500 cases while working as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.
Schuetz is the oldest person so far to go on trial for complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust.
AFP reports the pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, had pleaded innocent, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and had not even worked at the camp.
“I don’t know why I am here,” he said at the close of his trial on Monday.
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But presiding judge Udo Lechtermann said he was convinced Schuetz had worked at the camp and “supported” the atrocities committed there.
“You watched prisoners being tortured and killed before your eyes. Anyone who tried to escape from the camp was shot. So, every guard was actively involved in these murders.”
More than 200,000 people, including Jews, Roma, regime opponents and gay people, were detained at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945.
Tens of thousands of inmates died from forced labour, murder, medical experiments, hunger or disease before the camp was liberated by Soviet troops, according to the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum.
Schuetz, who was 21 when he began working at the camp, remained emotionless as the court announced his sentence.
According to AFP, Schuetz remained free during the trial, which began in 2021 but was postponed several times because of his health, and is highly unlikely to be put behind bars given his age.
His lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, told AFP he would appeal — meaning the sentence will not be enforced until 2023 at the earliest.