Bruno D. had been charged with accessory to 5,230 murders in the Stutthof camp. Some of the victims were executed, others died of illness. Some 40 survivors and relatives of those who died acted as co-plaintiffs.
The judge acknowledged the former SS guard’s willingness to take part in the trial and listen to the testimony of victims, but said he refused to recognize his own guilt right until the end. “You saw yourself as an observer,” she said.
The nine-month trial presented something of a surreal spectacle: It was held in a young offenders’ court since Bruno D. was only 17 when he began his yearlong service as guard at the Stutthof concentration camp in August 1944.
Survivors attended the commemoration to mark 75 years since the liberation of the Stutthof camp in May 1945
“When you are a part of mass-murder machinery, it is not enough to look away,” Mahnke said. Bruno D. himself said he was aware there were gas chambers at the camp.
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