A 101-year-old man who once served as a Nazi concentration camp guard was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, after being charged with "knowingly and willfully" aiding and abetting the killing of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp between January 1942 and February 1945.
It's estimated that 100,000 prisoners were killed at Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin. The Neuruppin Regional Court found that the man, whose name was not released due to German privacy laws, was an accessory to the murder of 3,518 people during his time guarding the camp. This is likely one of the last trials of its kind, as most former Nazi guards are deceased.
"It was extraordinarily difficult to find an appropriate punishment because the acts took place a very long time ago, and the perpetrator is already very old," Neuruppin Regional Court spokeswoman Iris le Claire told CNN. "All of this had a mitigating effect on the sentence."
The man, who was first charged in 2021, denied ever being a guard at Sachsenhausen. "The thousands of people who worked in the concentration camps kept the murder machinery running," Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told CNN. "They were part of the system, therefore they should also take responsibility for it. It is bitter that the defendant has denied his activities at that time until the end and has shown no remorse."