A 102-year-old man who was convicted last year on more than 3,500 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II has died, German news agency dpa reported Wednesday.
The man, whom local media have identified only as Josef S. in line with German privacy rules, was sentenced to five years in prison last June but remained free pending appeal.
He had denied working as an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen camp. But the state court in Neuruppin concluded that documents with the man’s name, date and place of birth showed he had in fact been an enlisted member of the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing stationed at the camp on the outskirts of Berlin between 1942 and 1945.
Tens of thousands of inmates — including Jews, political prisoners and captured Soviet soldiers — died at the Sachsenhausen camp from starvation, disease, forced labor and other causes, as well as through medical experiments and systematic executions carried out by the SS.
Delivering the court’s verdict, presiding Judge Udo Lechtermann said the defendant had assisted the murderous system established by the Nazis. According to a legal precedent set in 2015, anyone who helped a Nazi camp function can be prosecuted in Germany for being an accessory to the murders committed there.
“You willingly supported this mass extermination with your activity,” Lechtermann said at the time. “You watched deported people being cruelly tortured and murdered there every day for three years.”