For Germany, it’s better to be late than never. Recently, it indicted a former Nazi concentration camp guard for helping and facilitating the manslaughter of over 3,300 people in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was Nazi Germany and its collaborators’ systematic, state-sponsored persecution and genocide of approximately six million Jews including millions of other individuals such as Romani people, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, disabled individuals, and others during World War II. It took place from 1941-1945 and remains one of history’s darkest chapters.
Adolf Hitler led his Nazi forces in devising an elaborate plan to eradicate Jewish people and others they considered undesirable from European soil. Their strategies included mass shootings, forced labour camps, and building extermination camps where victims were subject to systematic murder in gas chambers or through other brutal means.
The Holocaust has had an indelible mark on the global understanding of human rights, morality and the implications of unchecked hatred and bigotry. It stands as a stark reminder of humanity’s capacity for atrocity; efforts have been undertaken to document and commemorate it; numerous museums, memorials, educational programs, and memorial services have all dedicated themselves to remembering victims as well as learning lessons from this tragic event.
Nazi in Germany under Adolf Hitler
The term “Nazi” refers to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, a far-right political party active from 1920 until 1945 in Germany and led by Adolf Hitler. They rose to power during Adolf’s rise, eventually creating totalitarianism across Germany. Their official German name was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP (meaning the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party).
The Nazis were notorious for their extreme ideology that included racist beliefs, anti-Semitism and aggressive expansionism. Through policies implemented during World War II, they implemented policies which led to the persecution and murder of millions of people including Jews, Romani people, disabled individuals, political dissidents and political dissidents during The Holocaust; six million Jews alone were murdered in concentration camps and extermination camps during this genocide.
Nazi Germany launched World War II by invading Poland in 1939, sparking a global conflict that ended with Germany surrendering unconditionally in 1945 following its defeat at the hands of Allied forces.
The crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany during its time of power are widely seen as among the darkest chapters in human history, and their leaders held accountable at Nuremberg Trials for their actions. Today, “Nazi” has come to be used disparagingly as an insult referring to individuals or groups with extreme far-right or fascist ideologies; yet its history should serve as a warning against totalitarianism, racism and extremism.
Age Doesn’t Matter for Prosecuting a Former Nazi
The former Nazi concentration camp guard worked in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during his early years. He worked for the Nazis between 1943 and 1945 and helped facilitate the killings of thousands of prisoners.
The accused man is a 98-year-old German citizen and a Main-Kinzig resident. He was charged with assisting the savage and malevolent annihilation of thousands of prisoners as a member of the SS guard detail. However, Giessen prosecutors did not disclose the name of the alleged.
He was indicted with over 3,300 counts of being an accomplice to the execution between July 1943 and February 1945. His case was filed at Hanau’s state court, awaiting a decision if the case will go to trial. When it does, the old man will be arbitrated under juvenile law, considering his age during the time of the purported crimes.
According to the prosecutors, a psychiatric specialist said the suspect is suitable to stand trial at least on a short-term cause. Implications of murder and being an abetter to murder aren’t contingent on a statute of limitations under German law.
Over 200,000 prisoners were detained in Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Countless people died of illnesses, hunger, forced labour, and other causes. It includes medical experiments and consistent extermination operations such as hangings, gassing, and shootings.
Prisoners erected Sachsenhausen concentration camp in July 1936 which became the SS officers’ central training facility. On the front entrance gates to Sachsenhausen is the ill-famed slogan ”Arbeit Macht Frei” meaning “Work Makes [You] Free.”
Approximately, 6 million Jews were murdered in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. It includes political opponents, people with physical or learning impairments, homosexuals, and Roma people.
Racing Against the Clock
Germany is making haste to bring the last surviving murderers of Nazi war crimes – even in old age – to help victims get justice. Last year, another former Sachsenhausen concentration camp guard, aged 101, faced five years in prison following his conviction of supporting the murder of 3,518 people in the said camp.
Even a 96-year-old German woman wasn’t spared the prosecution. She worked as a stenographer and typist in the commandant’s office at Stutthof concentration camp. She tried to evade the authorities but was seized and taken to court to face similar charges.