BERLIN (JTA) — A child survivor of the Holocaust interrupted the trial of a former Nazi concentration camp guard to give the 93-year-old defendant a hug.
Bruno Dey is charged as an accessory in the murders of 5,230 people at the Stutthof concentration camp near what is today Gdansk, Poland. He is standing trial in Hamburg.
Moshe Peter Loth, 76, a co-plaintiff in the case, approached Dev during the trial last week and said, “Watch out everyone, I’m going to forgive him.”
Loth then hugged Dey. Loth said later that both men cried.
In testimony at the trial, Loth said that his mother had been deported to Stutthof and that he was born there — a fact he reportedly learned only recently. After the camp’s liberation, Loth spent years with a Polish family and was later reunited with his family in Germany. They later immigrated to the United States.
Loth said a lifetime of abuse and hardship made him “full of hate, until I recognized that I had to forgive.”
Dey, a guard at the camp between August 1944 and April 1945, is being tried in a youth court because he was a teenager at the time.
The court allowed Loth to question Dey, who repeated his testimony that he had not volunteered for duty in Stutthof and that he was shocked by what had happened there.
According to an interpreter, Loth asked Dey’s forgiveness for having been angry and filled with hate.
The defendant replied: “Absolutely. I have no hate.”
Dey later said it was a relief for him to meet and apologize to Loth.
In 2015, a similar event unfolded in a German courtroom when Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor publicly forgave former camp guard Oskar Groening. Kor, a Romanian-born US citizen who died in July at 85, urged Groening to set an example by publicly denouncing neo-Nazi activity.