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Court says ex-Nazi camp guard, 96, unfit to stand trial

A German court halts proceedings against a 96-year-old former Nazi camp guard deemed unfit to stand trial, but rules that he must pay his own legal fees.

The man named as Harry S. is accused of aiding and abetting murder in several hundred cases while working as a guard at the Stutthof camp in then Nazi-occupied Poland between June 1944 and May 1945. He was charged in 2017 along with another former Stutthof guard whose trial was discontinued in March 2019, also for health reasons.

“Due to his physical condition, he was no longer able to reasonably represent his interests in and outside of the trial,” the district court in Wuppertal says in a statement. However, the court finds there is “a high degree of probability” Harry S. was guilty of the crimes and therefore rules that he should incur his own expenses.

The wooden main gate leading into the former Nazi concentration camp Stutthof, photographed in Sztutowo, Poland, July 18, 2017. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Harry S. was accused of overseeing the transport of 598 prisoners from Stutthof to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp on September 10, 1944, all but two of whom were later murdered in gas chambers. It could also be assumed that he oversaw other transports and kept watch regularly during his 10 months at the camp and had therefore “recognized the scope and dimension of the mass murder committed” there, the court says.

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