Former SS guard charged as accessory to 5,230 murders at Nazi camp

‘I felt bad for the people there,’ suspect tells prosecutors. ‘I knew that they were Jews who had committed no crime’

Peter Stubley
Thursday 18 April 2019 20:56 BST
Former SS guard charged with murder at Stutthof concentration camp

A former Nazi concentration camp guard has been charged with aiding and abetting at least 5,230 murders during the Second World War.

The 92-year-old man, identified only as Bruno D in German media, is said to have spent nine months on duty at Stutthof near Gdansk in modern-day Poland.

He was indicted after telling prosecutors he saw people taken to gas chambers to be killed, according to the Die Welt newspaper.

“What good would it have done for me to leave? They’d just have found somebody else,” he said during a voluntary interrogation last year.

“I felt bad for the people there. I didn’t know why they were there. I knew that they were Jews who had committed no crime.”

The former SS guard claimed he was not a Nazi sympathiser and only joined the party’s paramilitary organisation because a heart weakness restricted him to “garrison service”.

He was a 17-year-old trained baker when he began work at Stutthof concentration camp, where more than 60,000 people, including 28,000 Jews, died.

The former guard began work on 9 August 1944 and remained there until 26 April 1945, three days before Germany surrendered to the Allies.

He is said to have told prosecutors he saw the gas chambers and dead bodies being taken to the crematorium, according to Die Welt.

Asked about the prisoners in the camp, he replied: “They have the same right to live and work like any other person. But that was just Hitler or his party who were against it.”

It will be one of the last ever trials involving Nazi-era war crimes, due to the age and infirmity of the remaining suspects.

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Last year the case against another former guard at Stutthof, Johann Rehbogen, was halted because the suspect was too ill to stand trial, and Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, died aged 96 before starting his prison sentence.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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