93-year-old former concentration camp guard convicted of accessory to murder

93-year-old former concentration camp guard convicted of accessory to murder
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A former concentration camp guard, now 93, was convicted on thousands of counts of being an accessory to murder by a court in Germany on Thursday. 

The man, identified as Bruno D, was charged with 5,230 counts of accessory to murder over his time as an SS guard at the Strutthof concentration camp from 1944 to 1945, CNN reported. He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

He reportedly faced a juvenile court because he was 17 at the time he served in Stutthof. 

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More than 40 co-plaintiffs — reportedly including people from France, Israel, Poland and the U.S. — testified against the former SS guard during his trial, which began in October.

More than 60,000 people died in the camp, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

In a closing statement to the court earlier this week, the former SS guard apologized for the role he served and said, “It must never be repeated.” 

“Today, I want to apologize to all of the people who went through this hellish insanity,” Bruno D said, according to Time

He previously admitted to being a guard at the camp, but he told the court at the beginning of the trial that he had no choice at the time, according to CNN. 

Ben Cohen, whose grandmother Judy Meisel was imprisoned at Stutthof and is a co-plaintiff in the trial, called the verdict “symbolic justice” for the victims. Meisel’s mother, Mina Beker, was murdered in the camp. 

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“On behalf of my grandmother and our family this verdict sends a powerful message that a guard in any camp cannot deny responsibility for what happened," Cohen said in a statement to CNN. 

"Unfortunately, most perpetrators of the Holocaust were never prosecuted and so we are left with something that feels like symbolic justice today, rather than true justice," he added.

The case is likely not the last against elderly men accused of serving as Nazi guards. A German district court reportedly announced last week that a 95-year-old man who is accused of being a guard at the same camp was charged on July 14 with war crimes during the Holocaust. 

German prosecutors are also investigating 14 other cases connected to the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen and Stutthof concentration camps, CNN reported, citing the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes.