The International Auschwitz Committee considers the punishment of crimes committed by the National Socialists to be insufficient, despite ongoing trials. “The survivors are outraged and bitter about the German post-war judiciary and the punishment for the crimes in the concentration camps, because the vast majority of perpetrators remained unmolested by the judiciary and were able to live completely undisturbed in Germany,” said acting Vice President Christoph Heubner. With a view to the trial of a suspected former SS guard in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, he also acknowledged the Neuruppin Regional Court’s willingness to investigate.

According to the indictment, the 101-year-old, as an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp at the time, is said to have aided and abetted the murder of more than 3,500 prisoners from 1942 to 1945. So far, the accused has denied that he worked in the concentration camp at all. He stated that he had been working as a farmhand near Pasewalk (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) at the time in question. He had been resettled from Lithuania to Germany in 1941 as a so-called Volksdeutscher. The public prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin refers to documents relating to an SS guard with the man’s name, date of birth and place of birth. She is demanding five years in prison for the accused.

According to the Vice President, the required sentence has a symbolic character “in view of what happened in Sachsenhausen and in which the accused more than obviously played a part”. The sentence was “disproportionate, low and painful for the survivors and their relatives” in view of the accused aiding and abetting the murder of more than 3,500 prisoners. “The survivors always pointed out that even the smallest warden was in control of their life and death every minute in the camp and that even the smallest warden was indispensable in the great wheel of annihilation and terror,” said Heubner.

The survivors and their relatives spoke at the trial, the accused remained silent and denied, said Heubner. “And so this demand by the public prosecutor’s office for the survivors is also an acknowledgment of their suffering and a response to the silence and denial of this SS perpetrator, with whom they have been painfully confronted again and again for many decades.”

The plea by co-plaintiff lawyer Thomas Walther is expected in the process this Monday. A trial against a suspected former secretary in the Stutthof concentration camp is currently under way in the Itzehoe district court. The 96-year-old woman is accused of being an accessory to murder in more than 11,000 cases. (dpa)