A German court convicted a 93-year-old former concentration-camp guard on Thursday on 5,232 counts of accessory to murder.
Bruno Dey, who served as a guard at the Stuthoff concentration camp during the final months of World War II, was given a two-year suspended sentence by the Hamburg state court according to the dpa news agency. The 5,232 figure corresponds to the number of people believed to have been killed at the camp during Dey’s time there.
Dey was 17 in 1944 when he began his service at Stutthof, near the city of Gdansk. His trial took place in juvenile court because of his age at the time the crime was committed.
“How could you just get used to the horror?” asked presiding judge Anne Meier-Goering while she read out the sentence.
Thirty-five survivors of the camp were among the co-plaintiffs represented at the trial, the report said, adding that their lawyers called for admitting guilt but did not push for a harsh sentence. Dey confessed at the start of the trial last year for working at Stutthof, but claimed he did not work there willingly.
Six of the co-plaintiffs spoke to the court via video, offering testimony with regard to the daily abuse, beatings and murders at the camp, as well as the deaths by hunger and typhus.
Germany’s Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes prosecutors are working on 14 other cases related to crimes at death camps during World War II, dpa noted.
Stutthof was the first German concentration camp set up outside German borders in World War II, in operation from 2 September 1939. It was also the last camp liberated by the Allies on 9 May 1945. It is estimated that between 63,000 and 65,000 prisoners of Stutthof concentration camp and its subcamps died as a result of murder, starvation, epidemics, extreme labor conditions, brutal and forced evacuations, and a lack of medical attention. Some 28,000 of those who died were Jews. In total, as many as 110,000 people were deported to the camp in the course of its existence. About 24,600 were transferred from Stutthof to other locations.
The camp staff consisted of German SS guards and after 1943, the Ukrainian auxiliaries.