Ex-SS Guard Convicted in One of the Last Nazi Trial

Nazi

At 93-years-old, former Nazi concentration camp guard has been convicted for being an accessory to murder. On Thursday 23, 2020, the court announced that he has received a two-year suspended prison sentence.

The ex-guard, identified as Bruno Dey, told interviewers that “he wanted to forget” when asked if he told his grandchildren about his involvement in the concentration camps. Dey admitted to his role as a guard at the camp but told the court he had no choice at the time and that “it was an order.”

At age 17, he served in the Stutthof concentration camps and is charged with 5,230 counts of accessory to murder from 1944 to 1945.

During the trial, more than 40 co-plaintiffs from France, Israel, Poland, and the United States testified against the former SS guard.

Dey was indicted in April 2019 where he was reported as knowingly supporting the “insidious and cruel killing” at Stutthof concentration camp. During this time he also acknowledges his knowing of Stutthof gas chambers and admitted seeing “emaciated figures, people who had suffered.”

Despite this acknowledgment, during his statement to the court, he apologized to “those who went through the hell of this madness,” while “shaken” in his wheelchair when listening to testimonies from victims of the concentration camps.

A concentration camp survivor, Abraham Koryski, testified from Isreal. Stating he was only 16 when sent to Stutthof in 1944, Koryski repeatedly told how the SS guards would “stage sadistic shows” in front of other prisoners. Remembering when one occasion included the guard forcing a son to beat his father to death or else he would be killed.

Prisoners inside Stutthof were executed by being shot in the back of the, poisoned with Zyklon B gas, and denied food and medicine. And despite his old age, he faced a juvenile court due to his young age during the years the deaths occurred.

A spokesperson for Hamburg’s district court stated, “The defendant could be considered complicit in the crimes because he prevented the escape, revolt, and rescue of the prisoners.”

The verdict against Dey is seen as “symbolic justice” for victims of these concentration camps. Most perpetrators of the Holocaust were never prosecuted in the past, with most guards and soldiers fleeing before the camps were liberated and never heard from again as the war ended.

Ben Cohen, a grandson of an ex-prisoner in camp who was also a co-plaintiff in the trial, wrote: “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.”

The Stutthof concentration camp is located in what is now modern-day Poland. It is believed that almost six million Jewish people died in Nazi camps during World War II. Survivors of Nazi camps such as the Holocaust described the horrors of living as prisoners.

With Holocaust survivor, Sam Laskier, describing how he “saw death all the time. The chimneys we smelt the flesh of people – every day.”

Written by Brielle R. Buford

Sources:

CNN: Former Nazi guard, 93, to stand trial in Germany over thousands of camp murders

CNN: Concentration camp guard convicted in one of the last Nazi trials in history

BBC News: Germany: Ex-SS guard tells Stutthof murder trial ‘I want to forget’

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Brandon Evershed’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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