Former Stutthof concentration camp guard’s defence to address court

The defence counsel for the former Nazi concentration camp guard at the Stutthof camp is expected to make his plea on the man’s behalf on Monday, the penultimate day of his trial.

The 93-year-old man has confessed to working for the SS in the watchtower at the Stutthof camp from August 1944 to April 1945.

He is being tried in the German city of Hamburg in a juvenile court due to his young age at the time of the crime. Prosecutors have charged him with accessory to murder in 5,230 counts and have called for a three-year sentence.

He has the opportunity to address the court one last time on Monday and representatives of the victims – some 40 survivors and relatives – have called on him to plead guilty and to reflect on the period.

At the outset of the trial in October 2019, the defendant admitted to having been a guard at the camp but said he was not there voluntarily, but was drafted in the summer of 1944 as a 17-year-old to the Wehrmacht and then because he was not eligible for war, received his orders to go to Stutthof.

When asked by a judge in May, he said, “I am not guilty of what happened back then. I didn’t contribute to it aside from standing guard. I was forced to do that, it was an order.”

The verdict is due to be announced on July 23.

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